Texas A&M University fired head football coach Jimbo Fisher on Sunday, committing to a $75 million buyout of his contract and a national search for his replacement.
“In my analysis … our program is stuck in neutral,” Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork told reporters hours after he had met with Fisher to notify him of the school’s decision. “Something was not working”
Despite the fact that the decision was made on Sunday, one day after the Aggies defeated Mississippi State 51-10, Bjork stated that he came to the conclusion that a leadership change was required earlier in the week. The suggestion was then communicated to the school’s interim president, Mark Welsh III, and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, and the topic was considered in executive session with the Texas A&M Board of Regents. Bjork’s only comment was that it was a “robust conversation.”
Bjork broke the news to Fisher on Sunday in what he characterized as a “quick and cordial” discussion. The news was also shared with the players during a meeting on Sunday morning.
“After very careful analysis of all the components related to Texas A&M football, I recommended to President Welsh and then Chancellor Sharp that a change in the leadership of the program was necessary in order for Aggie football to reach our full potential and they accepted my decision,” said Athletic Director Ross Bjork in a statement. “We appreciate Coach Fisher’s time here at Texas A&M and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
The $75 million Fisher will owe the university to buy out his contract is the largest money ever due to a football coach. Details of the contract buyout are still being worked out, according to Bjork, but what is owing to Fisher will be paid with donor cash from the school’s 12th Man Foundation and athletic department funds.
Meanwhile, A&M Assistant Coach Elijah Robinson has been designated interim head coach for the team’s final two games of the season, against Abilene Christian University on November 18 and Louisiana State University on November 25.
“The decision to part ways with Coach Fisher is the result of a thorough evaluation of the football program’s performance, and what’s in the best interest of the overall program and Texas A&M University,” Welsh said in a statement Sunday, adding that Bjork will start a national search for Fisher’s replacement. “I am confident he will find a great coach and leader with a commitment to the values that drive Texas A&M.”
In 2017, university authorities startled the collegiate football world by announcing the 10-year, $75 million contract that enticed Fisher away from Florida State University. The arrangement was incredible in terms of both duration and guaranteed annual compensation.
After speculations that Fisher could depart A&M for Louisiana State University, the board extended the contract by four years in 2021. Fisher earned $9 million per year during that contract extension.
In comparison, Steve Sarkisian, the head football coach at the University of Texas at Austin, has a six-year contract that guarantees him at least $34.2 million.
At the time, university officials stated that Fisher, who had won a national title in Florida, was worth the money and that the university desired to win championships. Fisher, on the other hand, has been unable to deliver. Fisher’s total record is 45-25, despite a strong year in 2020. Last season, the Aggies finished with a 5-7 record. The team is having another disappointing season, with a 6-4 record so far.