When Texas A&M extended Jimbo Fisher’s contract just days before the Aggies’ 2021 season kicked off, the program’s outlook was rosy.
The team was coming off its best season under Fisher, a 9-1 campaign with a top-five finish in the polls, its second finish since joining the SEC in 2012. Recruiting was booming, and the class that Fisher and his staff were coming together this summer to ultimately become the highest-rated in the era of Internet recruiting rankings.
After signing Fisher to a 10-year, $75 million contract in 2017 to lure him away from Florida State, Texas A&M doubled down in September 2021, extending him through 2031 to the tune of nearly $95 million, fully guaranteed.
“Coach Fisher continues to demonstrate that he is building our program for long-term success and is a great fit for Texas A&M,” athletic director Ross Bjork said at the time in a statement accompanying the news of Fisher’s extension . “There is momentum in all phases of our program and we are excited about what lies ahead for Aggie Football.”
Fisher, in a statement that praised A&M’s investment and support, concluded with: “It is an honor to be the head football coach at Texas A&M and while I am proud of the progress we have achieved, we are not. already done!”
More than two years later, Fisher is done. Texas A&M fired Fisher on Sunday. The Aggies went 45-25 in Fisher’s six seasons at the helm.
Since the program peaked in 2020 and the extension was signed, Texas A&M is 19-15 overall, 10-13 against SEC competition and 12-14 against Power opponents. 5. Since 2021, the Aggies are 4-10 in games decided by eight points or fewer and have lost seven such games in a row. Texas A&M hasn’t won a true road game since October 16, 2021, a nine-game losing streak. The Aggies are a disappointing 6-4 this fall.
With the Aggies showing no considerable positive progress in the sixth year of the Fisher era, Texas A&M decided to part ways with Fisher, despite having over $77 million remaining on his contract. Although Fisher’s massive buyout has become a popular argument in discussions of the Aggies’ plight, there is one aspect that has often been overlooked: They don’t have to shell out everything at once.
Fisher’s contract explains the buyout payment schedule as follows:
“The University will pay twenty-five percent (25%) of this amount in a lump sum within (60) days following the effective date of termination of the Agreement, and the remaining balance will be paid to Coach in the form of equal annual payments starting from one hundred and twenty. (120) days after the effective date of termination of this Agreement and until the original termination date of this Agreement, December 31, 2031.”
What does this mean for Texas A&M now that it fires Fisher? The Aggies don’t have to immediately write Fisher a check for $77 million.
In total, the Aggies owe Fisher $26.6 million by March 11, 2024. It’s certainly not loose change, but it’s much more manageable than if the entire contract was due up front. . The rest will be paid in annual installments of $7.2 million from 2025 to 2031, meaning the Aggies would essentially pay two head coaches for the next eight years.
Fisher’s predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, was given a lump sum to terminate his contract: all of what was left of the five-year, $30 million contract he signed at the end of the 2013 season was his. due within 60 days. When he was fired after the 2017 season, the school fulfilled that obligation with a one-time payment of $9.9 million in early 2018, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Total redemption: $77,562,500
Lump sum (25%) due (within 60 days): $19,390,625
Eight payments, beginning no later than March 11, 2024 and continuing annually until 2031: $7,271,484
Even the short-term money Texas A&M owes dwarfs the largest buyout known to have been paid to a fired coach: $21.4 million to former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn. And that doesn’t take into account the money it would take for the program to hire a new head coach and staff, which would be substantial.
If the salary and personnel of a potential new head coach match what A&M currently pays for its staff (a total of $17 million per year), making a change will require more than $40 million in salaries at the over the next calendar year, taking into account the Fisher acquisition. Even for an athletic department as cash-rich as the Aggies — Texas A&M generated $193 million in revenue and $177 million in expenses in 2022 — that’s hard to digest.
Yet A&M executives had seen enough. Fisher is out, but the Aggies haven’t finished paying him yet, and won’t for another eight years.
(Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images)