Kevin Sumlin has been put on notice, so is Chip Kelly first in line to replace him at Texas A&M in 2018?
During a Tuesday appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show, Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward put head football coach Kevin Sumlin on notice. Sumlin has a 44-21 record in five seasons at the school, but a 2-5 finish and a bowl loss to Kansas State after a 6-0 start last season puts Sumlin’s status up in the air.
"“We were very disappointed, very disappointed as a program, both coach and I,” Woodward added. “We just want to make darn sure that we’re going to get it right…but coach knows he has to win and he has to win this year and we have to do better than we’ve done in the past.”"
Sumlin has to navigate a tough SEC West, which includes Alabama, LSU and Auburn. After a 11-2 record in his first season with Johnny Manziel leading the way, the Aggies have gone 9-4 followed by three straight 8-5 marks. A 15-17 conference record over those last four seasons is not up to standard, especially considering the school’s substantial investment in renovating Kyle Field. So without a rebound back to double-digit wins this year, Sumlin may be seeking another coaching opportunity.
Chip Kelly only lasted one season as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Being late to the college coaching carousel led to his recent hiring by ESPN to be a college football analyst on Saturdays with some NFL analysis sprinkled in on Sundays. But after the 2017 season will be a different story, with some noteworthy college jobs possibly coming open and Kelly able to be a candidate from the beginning. So it’s hardly surprising Yahoo!’s Dan Wetzel is already among those to tie Kelly to College Station.
"“With Kelly’s show-cause sanctions for NCAA violations now expired, he’s an overwhelmingly enticing hire — Kelly’s involvement in any rule breaking will quickly be forgotten as ADs and alums dream of that old Ducks offense coming to their campus,” “That’s even true in the Aggies’ case, when much of the trouble came from Kelly recruiting in Texas. It doesn’t matter. No one really cares about the NCAA rules.”"
Stuart Mandel of Fox Sports has also cited Texas A&M as a prime landing spot for Kelly in 2018, while also adding three other SEC schools (Tennessee, Ole Miss, Auburn) and a couple Pac-12 opportunities (UCLA, Arizona Sate) that could open up. Kelly, of course, made his name in the Pac-12 at Oregon with a 46-7 record and a BCS national title game appearance over four seasons, and college coaching looks like a far better fit for him than the NFL.
Kelly’s contract with ESPN was announced to be “multi-year.” But unless he surprisingly has no desire to coach again, he won’t even be on television all the way through the 2017 NFL season. At Texas A&M or elsewhere, Kelly will be on a sideline again in 2018.