The athletic director of Texas A&M, Ross Bjork, announced on Sunday night that he had fired football coach Jimbo Fisher earlier in the day because the team was “stuck in neutral.”
Following the Aggies’ Nov. 4 loss to Ole Miss, Bjork claimed he called Texas A&M’s acting president, Gen. Mark Welsh, and requested a meeting.
The Aggies went 26-10 in Fisher’s first three seasons at College Station, and they placed No. 4 in 2020, which was the program’s second-highest position ever, after the 1939 national title. Texas A&M is 19–15 over the last three seasons, including a current nine-game road losing streak that ties the program record for the longest since the AP poll was first conducted in 1936.
Texas A&M has signed 70 ESPN 300 players since Fisher’s first complete recruiting class in 2019. This is the fourth highest in the FBS, behind Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia, all of which have participated in at least one national championship game. In 2022, the Aggies were recognized as having the best recruiting class.
With a 45-25 record over six seasons and no trips to the SEC title game, Fisher’s time at A&M comes to an end.
Bjork stated that shortly before nine o’clock on Sunday morning, he and Welsh met with Fisher inside Kyle Field and told the coach they were going to make an immediate change. They also decided to fire Mark Robinson, Fisher’s associate athletic director for football.
According to Bjork, the exchange was “quick and cordial.”
In a meeting on Thursday, the board of regents started the process of dismissing Fisher. Fisher’s future constituted a large portion of the four-hour discussion that took place during an executive session.
Coordinators Bobby Petrino and D.J. Durkin will remain in their positions, with defensive line coach Elijah Robinson filling in as interim coach. Bjork stated that Robinson enjoys the respect of the players.
It is anticipated that the school will have to pay over $76 million to buy out Fisher’s contract, which is over three times the highest known buyout of a coaching contract at a public institution. Fisher’s deal states that he will be paid $19.2 million in 60 days and then $7.2 million a year until 2031. These payments are not subject to offset or mitigation, and the yearly payments begin 120 days following termination.
According to Bjork, the expenses will be met by the university’s sports department and the 12th Man Foundation, a Section 501(c)(3) charity organization that serves as the athletic department’s fundraising arm.
Bjork stated that the contract text contained “different parameters” in response to the question of whether he anticipated being responsible for the full buyout.
When Fisher was first hired by the Aggies in December 2017, he was offered a 10-year, $75 million contract that came with full guarantees. Fisher had previously won a national championship with Florida State after the 2013 season. The reason his buyout is so high is that in August 2021, he received a four-year contract extension that extended his contract until 2031 and increased his yearly compensation from $7.5 million to $9 million.
Fisher’s annual compensation will be paid out, according to Bjork, by his athletic department.
Bjork stated that the Aggies will be searching for a specific set of qualities in their next coach. According to him, these qualities include a strong sense of program identity, excellent interpersonal skills, a history of player development, a dedication to education, and a solid background in recruiting combined with strong organizational abilities.
December 4th, when the transfer portal opens, is a crucial day as the program moves to a new coach, according to Bjork.
After five years at College Station, Bjork said he isn’t giving up on his ambition to turn the Aggies into a national championship contender.