Despite picking up a decisive win Saturday against Mississippi State, the Texas A&M Aggies decided to part ways with head coach Jimbo Fisher on Sunday. Fisher started his tenure as the Aggies' head football coach in 2018, when he brought high hopes and expectations to a program looking to climb the ranks in both the Southeastern Conference and in all of college football. However, Fisher's time with Texas A&M never lived up to those expectations, and he finished his tenure with zero 10-win seasons, zero conference title game appearances, and a 45-25 record.
For Texas A&M, there is no time to waste in finding his replacement. The Aggies have been one of the top schools in recruiting and have a talented roster that they do not want to go to waste. And they are in the SEC, which has been the best conference in the nation for almost the last decade. To add even more pressure, their in-state rival — the Texas Longhorns — join the conference next season, and the two will face off for the first time in over a decade. So, the pressure is on to find the right hire.
But who exactly could the Aggies bring in to take the reins of a program that has all of the makings to become a legitimate playoff contender? Well, see for yourself.
Mike Elko - Duke Head Coach
Mike Elko is currently in his second year as the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. In his first head coaching job, Elko finished his first season with a 9-4 record, a bowl victory and a winning record in conference play. In year two, Duke got off to a hot start, winning its first four games; but after quarterback Riley Leonard went down, it has lost four of its last six games.
Prior to getting the job at Duke, Elko was the defensive coordinator for Texas A&M, giving him ties to a job that many think he would be a great fit for.
Kalen DeBoer - Washington Head Coach
For those unfamiliar with him, Kalen DeBoer knows what it takes to win national titles, as he led Sioux Falls to three National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championships in four years from 2006 to 2009. Now, over a decade later, DeBoer has the Washington Huskies at the top of college football. After going 11-2 in his first year with the Huskies, DeBoer currently has Washington at the top of the Pac-12 with a 10-0 record and their sights set on a playoff appearance.
DeBoer has a good thing going with the Huskies right now. But his star quarterback will be gone at the end of the season, and Washington is set to join the Big Ten in 2024. So things are adding up that could persuade DeBoer to move on at the end of the season for a more-high-profile job.
Kliff Kingsbury - Former NFL/College Coach
Kliff Kingsbury seems like a wild card in this situation, but the Aggies will consider all options. Kingsbury spent one year with the Aggies as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012, the same year the Aggies had their best season in quite some time and had a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback.
Kingsbury's stint in the NFL wasn't great, but he did see some success as head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders from 2013 to 2018. Hiring one of the best offensive masterminds could just be what the Aggies need to spark their offense.
Jeff Traylor - UTSA Head Coach
Current University of Texas at San Antonio head coach Jeff Traylor got his start coaching high school football, where he led Gilmer High School to 175 wins, five Texas state title appearances and three state titles. After spending some time with Southern Methodist and Arkansas as an assistant, the Roadrunners hired Traylor as their head coach in 2020.
Since then, Traylor has posted two 10-win seasons, has led UTSA to two straight Conference USA titles, and is on pace to win an American Athletic Conference title in their first year. Traylor is at a smaller school and has the most to gain among any of these coaches to make this type of jump in his career.
Jedd Fisch - Arizona Head Coach
It has taken time, but Jedd Fisch has started to see some success as Arizona's head coach in his third year with the Wildcats. The Wildcats have won four straight games, with three of those against ranked opponents. Arizona will be heading for the Big 12 next season, but there is more that could prompt Fisch to leave.
A recent report says the Arizona Wildcats are facing a $240 million school-wide shortage after significant miscalculations in their financial modeling. Being at a school that has money problems and going to a school that just committed to a $70 million bailout can be pretty persuasive when it comes down to the financial side of things. In addition, Texas A&M is several steps above Arizona in terms of the overall state of the football program.
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