Scott Woodward is bringing an old colleague to College Station.
The Texas A&M Aggies athletic director hired Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher to be the Aggies’ next head coach Friday. Fisher and Woodward worked together in the early to mid-2000s at Louisiana State.
Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle was the first to report A&M’s pursuit of Fisher.
Fisher’s contract is a 10-year deal worth $75 million, which is the richest deal in college football history in terms of total value, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach. Fisher’s $7.5 million annual salary only trails Alabama’s Nick Saban, who is paid $8.1 million annually on his eight-year deal.
FSU has named associate head coach Odell Haggins as interim head coach for Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe.
Fisher has won at least 10 games in a season six times in his eight seasons as the Seminoles' head coach, including when FSU finished 14-0 in 2013 and won a national championship. He’s no stranger to the SEC as he served as Auburn's quarterbacks coach from 1993-98 and LSU's offensive coordinator from 2000-06, when he worked with Woodward.
He is only the fourth coach in history to leave a school where he won a national title for another heading coach job. The other three are Paul Dietzel (LSU to Army in 1962), Jim Tatum (Maryland to North Carolina in ‘56) and Johnny Majors (Pittsburgh to Tennessee in ‘97).
Fisher’s hiring comes after Woodward fired Kevin Sumlin following the Aggies’ 45-21 loss Saturday night at LSU. The Aggies blew a 34-point lead in its season opener at UCLA, and lost at home by a combined 36 points to Mississippi State and Auburn in consecutive weeks this season, ultimately pushing Texas A&M to move on after six season.
Sumlin’s tenure provided consistency in Aggieland that raised expectations. He was a solid 51-26 with the Aggies since he was hired from the University of Houston, but he couldn’t win big games in the Southeastern Conference’s West division, where the Aggies were 16-20 and didn’t win a divisional game at home in three seasons. Sumlin is receiving $10.4 million in a buyout from A&M.
The Aggies last won a conference title in 1998 when A&M competed in the Big 12, and last won or even played for a national title in 1939.