Texas A&M is prepared to pursue Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher once a separation agreement with current coach Kevin Sumlin is finalized following the season, according to a report by USA Today.
Texas A&M has not made an announcement about Sumlin’s future, but the Aggies (6-4) are widely expected to part ways with their embattled sixth-year coach.
Fisher has rebuffed interest from LSU and Texas over the past two years and has given no indication he would seriously consider leaving FSU. He signed an eight-year contract in 2014 and then received a two-year extension last December that increased his annual base salary from $5.25 million to $5.55 million this year, with an option for additional years.
Fisher is already one of college football’s highest-paid coaches. His current contract now runs through the 2024-25 season, with total guaranteed compensation over the length of the contract reaching $44.4 million.
“Florida State is a special place and I look forward to continuing to build on our past success into the future,” Fisher said in December.
However, he does have a longstanding relationship with Texas A&M athletics director Scott Woodward, and FSU is mired in a 3-6 season that could see the Seminoles miss out on a bowl game after starting at No. 3 in the polls. Woodward was hired as an administrator at LSU in 2000, the same year Fisher was hired as then-coach Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator. Woodward and Fisher have remained friendly over the years, according to the USA Today report.
Fisher’s only contractual buyout responsibility to Florida State should he leave is the amount guaranteed to his assistant coaches. That could be as much as $7.2 million, but in reality would likely be far less as the contract is written to protect the school from having to buy out those coaches should the Seminoles’ next coach decide not to honor the contracts. And if Fisher brought some or most of those coaches with him to another school, Florida State would not be responsible for those current contracts.
Fisher won a national title in 2013 and entered this season 77-17 through his first seven seasons with the Seminoles.