Texas A&M Aggies: Eric Hyman

A glance at Sumlin's new contract

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
5:50
PM ET
Texas A&M and coach Kevin Sumlin finalized a new six-year contract last week that makes Sumlin one of the highest-paid coaches in college football.

Most of the highlights are already known: Sumlin's salary is now $5 million per year and if he were to leave before the final game of the 2016 season, his buyout would be $5 million (Sumlin's buyout clause ends after 2016, while A&M's buyout exists through the length of the deal).

A copy of the new contract was obtained by ESPN.com on Monday via an open records request. Here is a summary of the notable details:

• Sumlin signed the deal on Thursday.
• The new contract goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and ends on Dec. 31, 2019.
• Salary is $5 million annually (up from $3.1 million in the contract he signed in January after the 2012 season).
• If Sumlin leaves before the end of the 2016 season (including any bowl game), he owes Texas A&M $5 million. After the 2016 season, there is no buyout on Sumlin's end.
• If Texas A&M terminates the contract at any time prior to the end date, it owes Sumlin whatever salary remains from the termination date to the end of the contract. Both Sumlin's and the school's buyout must be paid within 60 days of the termination date.
• The assistant coach salary pool remains the same as it was in his January contract: $3.4 million. The contract states that Sumlin and athletic director Eric Hyman will meet annually to mutually determine the salary pool and that the pool will be set at a level that can keep the Aggies competitive "with all the other top-tier SEC football programs."
• Sumlin's bowl game and championship game bonuses remain the same as they were in the deal he signed in January. He gets $100,000 for making the SEC championship game or $150,000 if the Aggies win the game.
• A bowl game appearance equates to a $50,000 bonus. If it's the AT&T Cotton Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Chick-Fil-A Bowl or the Outback Bowl, the bonus is $100,000. A BCS bowl appearance is $250,000 or $300,000 for a win.
• Appearance in the national championship game gets Sumlin $300,000. If the Aggies win the national championship, the bonus is $400,000.
• His bonus structure relating to the new College Football Playoff is essentially to be determined. The contract states that the parties "agree to negotiate in good faith with respect to a reasonable bonus structure" and that it will be "at least commensurate with other similarly situated programs for such a restructured BCS or such playoffs." This clause was in Sumlin's previous deal.
• Sumlin gets $50,000 for winning the SEC coach of the year honors and $75,000 if he's named national coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association or the Associated Press. That's also consistent with his previous deal.
• The APR bonuses remain the same. An APR between 950-964 results in a $50,000 bonus, an APR of 965-974 means a $75,000 bonus and an APR of 975 or higher means a $100,000 bonus (about a third of each of those bonuses will be allocated to staff members with the rest going to Sumlin).

Texas A&M focused on long-term success

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
1:15
PM ET
Texas A&M lost a game to Missouri on Saturday, but that setback pales in comparison to the bigger picture for the Aggies.

[+] EnlargeKevin Sumlin
Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY SportsCoach Kevin Sumlin is a big part of Texas A&M's long-term success.
The other story to come out of Columbia, Mo., on Saturday -- one that bodes well for the long-term health of the football program -- was the new six-year contract for head coach Kevin Sumlin.

It sends a message that Texas A&M is willing to play with the big boys.

"The Texas A&M University has made as an unbelievable commitment toward the football program, the best I've ever seen, in such a short period of time," athletic director Eric Hyman said on Saturday night. "And that's a credit to Texas A&M. There's no question about it. They showed to Kevin and really to the world that Texas A&M wants to have a viable program and competitive on a national level."

In the last two seasons, the Aggies have upped the ante in several areas in order to be competitive with their new mates in the SEC. They approved plans and have since begun construction on a $450 million renovation project for Kyle Field that will turn it into a 102,500-seat monstrosity, scheduled for completion prior to the 2015 season.

Just before Sumlin's first season began, work was completed on the Davis Player Development Center, a $9 million football-only weight room that is 20,000-square feet and has state-of-the-art technology in place.

This year, a new dining hall, the R.C. Slocum Nutrition Center, was installed on the second floor of the Bright Football Complex, a project that cost an estimated $12 million. And in the front of the Bright Complex is the Tommie E. Lohman '59 Center, where a $4 million renovation of the lobby took place. It's where John David Crow and Johnny Manziel's Heisman trophies are displayed, as are numerous other awards and mementos of Texas A&M football history.

Sumlin was one of the hottest names in the offseason coaching rumor mill. With the USC vacancy, not to mention the threat of NFL teams pursuing the sixth-year head coach, Texas A&M beat other suitors to the punch.

Sources told ESPN Senior NFL Insider Chris Mortensen that Sumlin's new deal, which runs through 2019, raised his salary to $5 million per year and guarantees him to coach the Aggies until the school has completed and played in the new Kyle Field.

Texas A&M wants to be competitive long-term in the SEC, often called the country's best college football conference, so it has put its money where its mouth is.

"This is a very sincere, long-time commitment to an individual who has done a marvelous job, in all aspects of the job," Hyman said. "From our student-athletes, from a competitive standpoint, from the community to the Aggie family, everybody is extremely excited to have him leading the programs."

Hyman made it clear he understands there isn't just one aspect of the program that takes priority. Many parts have to work together for it to happen. The Aggies are 19-6 in their first two SEC seasons under Sumlin. Alhough this season's 8-4 record wasn't what some had hoped, the future appears bright. The program is on track to sign a second consecutive top-10 recruiting class and is off to a strong start in its 2015 class.

"You have to understand, you build that cathedral one brick at a time," Hyman said. "There's a good foundation, but we still have a ways to go with the program. It's not there. Kevin has done an absolutely marvelous job. We're going to have some challenges ahead of us.

"It's not all about facilities, because Army and Navy would be undefeated every year [if that were the case], but it's about a cross-section of a lot of different things. And there's a lot of momentum and a lot of excitement going on with the program, and I think everybody couldn't be more enthusiastic."

SEC helps A&M, LSU rekindle rivalry

November, 22, 2013
11/22/13
2:00
PM ET
How long has it been since Texas A&M traveled to Baton Rouge, La., to play LSU at Tiger Stadium? Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin offers perspective.

"It's a little bit different for our current players than maybe it is for our former students or our fans," Sumlin said. "That was [19] years ago. Guys like [starting middle linebacker] Darian Claiborne, shoot, they couldn't even walk the last time we went to Tiger Stadium."

[+] EnlargeKevin Sumlin
Scott Halleran/Getty ImagesKevin Sumlin will take Texas A&M back to Death Valley for the first time in 19 years.
To be exact, Sept. 3, 1994, was the previous trip the Aggies made to Death Valley. Texas A&M won 18-13, and the teams played the next season at Kyle Field, a 33-17 win for the Aggies.

The 1995 battle was the last of 10 straight and the teams didn't meet again until the Cotton Bowl brought them together in 2010. The major shifts that shook up college football because of conference realignment have broken up many rivalries, but in this particular case, it rekindled an old one, with the Aggies and Tigers becoming conference mates in the SEC West Division.

LSU and Texas A&M have a long history together; the Tigers lead the all-time series 28-20-3. Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, who coached in seven of those battles, called it a “great rivalry.”

"I think over the years it's been a natural thing because the closeness of the two states and the environment," said Slocum, who was born in Louisiana and coached high school football in that state, but grew up in Orange, Texas, virtually on the Texas/Louisiana border. "There were so many people, particularly in Southeast Texas and in Houston in the oil industry that had Louisiana ties. And if you went into southeastern Louisiana and down to New Orleans, again, because of the oil industry, there were a lot of people with Texas ties.”

It was a bit of baptism by fire for former LSU coach Gerry DiNardo. When the teams met in 1995, it was DiNardo's first game as the Tigers' coach. And he had the unenviable task of coaching the season opener at raucous Kyle Field.

"I don't know that anybody wants to open up at A&M when you take over a job," DiNardo said with a laugh.

"I really didn't know much about it. I was in the Southeast for four years at Vanderbilt, then I went to LSU. When you first take over a job, there's so many things that you have to do that honestly, you don't pay much attention to your first opponent until it's close up.

"I did have an appreciation for the rivalry. It was a great setting and a good game."

The teams' first meeting dates to 1899 and the teams played sporadically until 1942, which began a series of seven straight years that the teams played. They met annually from 1960 to 1975, then not again until 1986, which started a string of eight consecutive matchups.

The teams were to continue playing through at least the 1997 season, but LSU chose not to play the final two games that were part of a 10-year contract that began in the 1988 season.

[+] EnlargeDiNardo
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesGerry DiNardo's first taste of the rivalry came in his first-ever game as LSU's coach.
DiNardo suspects that the SEC expansion that turned the conference into a 12-team league and split it into two divisions in 1992 was a big factor in ending the rivalry at that time.

"When the SEC went to two six-team divisions, everybody thought they were all going to kill one another," DiNardo said. "I was at Vanderbilt the first year we had that and I'm sitting in the coaches' meetings and coaches were saying, 'We will never win another national championship game.'

"Alabama won it that year and obviously, the rest is history. Just the opposite happened."

Now the teams share the same division and will see each other annually. With Texas A&M not playing longtime rival Texas -- its former Southwest Conference and Big 12 Conference mate -- for the foreseeable future, it could be LSU that emerges as the Aggies' traditional Thanksgiving weekend rival. The teams are scheduled to play on Thanksgiving in 2014.

"I am ecstatic about LSU and being able to play on Thursday of Thanksgiving," Texas A&M athletics director Eric Hyman said when the SEC schedule was announced in August. "To be able to play LSU just makes a natural rivalry, the proximity and everything else."

There also should be some familiarity with players on each side, as LSU recruits Texas and Texas A&M recruits Louisiana. As long as Sumlin and Les Miles are coaching, that will continue. But for it to develop as a rivalry, the teams might have to play each other a few more times consecutively and it won't hurt if both teams are successful -- as they are right now, with both in the top 25 of the BCS standings -- when those meetings occur.

"For our fans, it has the potential [to become a rivalry]," Sumlin said. " . . . I've got a feeling that as soon as we try to get into Tiger Stadium tomorrow at about 12:30, they'll figure out what kind of atmosphere we're playing in and what kind of rivalry it is."

Texas A&M mum on Manziel's status

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
8:00
AM ET
Those looking for a definitive answer from Texas A&M on the status of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel in advance of the Aggies' game against Rice on Saturday will have to wait.

Aggies' athletic director Eric Hyman released a statement on Monday evening indicating that head coach Kevin Sumlin, assistant coaches and players were asked not to comment on the status of Manziel, who is the subject of an NCAA investigation into allegations that he profited from signing autographs. Sumlin, his coordinators and several players are scheduled to meet the media on Tuesday for the Aggies' regularly scheduled weekly news conference.

“The focus of our coaches and student-athletes is solely on preparing for Rice this Saturday, and in the best interests of Texas A&M and the 100-plus student-athletes on the team, I have instructed Coach Sumlin, his staff and our student-athletes to refrain from commenting on or answering questions regarding the status of our starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel," Hyman said.

A source told ESPN.com's Travis Haney that NCAA investigators spent nearly six hours with Manziel on Sunday.

It is worth noting that both Hyman and senior associate athletic director for external affairs Jason Cook referred to Manziel as the Aggies' "starting quarterback" on Monday evening. Cook did so in a tweet related to Hyman's statement that read "Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin, staff and players will not address starting QB Johnny Manziel's status at weekly presser on Tuesday. #12thMan"

Manziel was listed No. 1 on the Aggies' recently released depth chart. Starting defensive tackle Kirby Ennis, who is suspended for the season opener, is also listed first on the depth chart, so that isn't necessarily an indicator of Manziel's status. When asked at different times during preseason training camp this month, Sumlin hasn't indicated whether he plans to start Manziel in the season opener. Manziel spent the duration of training camp taking practice repetitions with the first team.

Manziel has not spoken to the media since the news of the NCAA's inquiry into the allegations against him broke on Aug. 4. After addressing his redshirt sophomore quarterback's status briefly on the first day of training camp, Sumlin has directed all questions about Manziel's off-the-field status to Cook.

Cook or the athletic department also hasn't commented on Manziel's status or whether he will play. Last week, Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp did make strong comments in support of Manziel, telling Bryan, Texas, television station KBTX: "I know he's innocent. I know that he didn't do what they accused him of doing.”

Early this month, Manziel's attorney, Jim Darnell, predicted while he was a guest on The Herd with Colin Cowherd that Manziel would start against Rice.

Last season, Manziel compiled an SEC record 5,116 total offensive yards along with 47 total touchdowns. He became the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy.

Manziel is not scheduled to appear at the Aggies' news conference on Tuesday. Manziel's backup on Saturday will be either junior Matt Joeckel or true freshman Kenny Hill.

Joeckel appeared in five games last season and attempted 11 passes. Hill is a three-star prospect out of Southlake (Texas) Carroll who signed with the Aggies in February.
ESPN’s Travis Haney reported late Monday that NCAA investigators met with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel on Sunday, seeking clarification on allegations from autograph dealers that he accepted payments for a series of signing sessions.

A source told Haney that the NCAA officials met with Manziel for nearly six hours in College Station.

Aggies athletic director Eric Hyman released a statement on Monday evening indicating that head coach Kevin Sumlin, assistant coaches and players were asked not to comment on the status of Manziel, who is the subject of an NCAA investigation into allegations that he profited from signing autographs. Sumlin, his coordinators and several players are scheduled to meet the media on Tuesday for the Aggies' regularly scheduled weekly news conference.

“The focus of our coaches and student-athletes is solely on preparing for Rice this Saturday, and in the best interests of Texas A&M and the 100-plus student-athletes on the team, I have instructed Coach Sumlin, his staff and our student-athletes to refrain from commenting on or answering questions regarding the status of our starting quarterback, Johnny Manziel," Hyman said.

It is worth noting that both Hyman and senior associate athletic director for external affairs Jason Cook referred to Manziel as the Aggies' "starting quarterback" on Monday evening. Cook did so in a tweet related to Hyman's statement.



Manziel was listed No. 1 on the Aggies' recently released depth chart. Starting defensive tackle Kirby Ennis, who is suspended for the season opener, is also listed first on the depth chart, so that isn't necessarily an indicator of Manziel's status. When asked at different times during preseason training camp this month, Sumlin hasn't indicated whether he plans to start Manziel in the season opener. Manziel spent the duration of training camp taking practice repetitions with the first team.

Manziel has not spoken to the media since the news of the NCAA's inquiry into the allegations against him broke on Aug. 4. After addressing his redshirt sophomore quarterback's status briefly on the first day of training camp, Sumlin has directed all questions about Manziel's off-the-field status to Cook.

Cook or the athletic department also hasn't commented on Manziel's status or whether he will play. Last week, Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp did make strong comments in support of Manziel, telling Bryan, Texas, television station KBTX: "I know he's innocent. I know that he didn't do what they accused him of doing.”

Early this month, Manziel's attorney, Jim Darnell, predicted while he was a guest on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" that Manziel would start against Rice.

Last season, Manziel compiled an SEC record 5,116 total offensive yards along with 47 total touchdowns. He became the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy.

Manziel is not scheduled to appear at the Aggies' news conference on Tuesday. Manziel's backup on Saturday will be either junior Matt Joeckel or true freshman Kenny Hill.

Joeckel appeared in five games last season and attempted 11 passes. Hill is a three-star prospect out of Southlake (Texas) Carroll who signed with the Aggies in February.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds made headlines this week when he reiterated his stance against playing Texas A&M any time in the near future, though he admitted the game would likely happen at some point. Who gets to decide when?

"They're the ones that decided not to play us. We get to decide when we play again. I think that's fair," he said.

Another old Texas A&M rival from the Big 12 has struck a different tune, though. Texas Tech wants to play Texas A&M, and it doesn't sound like it'll be too long before it happens.

"I would think soon,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal of the renewal's timeline. “(Athletic director) Kirby (Hocutt)’s excited about it. I’m excited about it, so hopefully we can come to an agreement and get that thing rolling. I just think it’s a great thing for the state. It’s a great rivalry, a great football game and it would be great for Texas."

He added that he'd "love to be a part of that again."

At last week's Big 12 basketball tournament, Hocutt expressed a desire to resume the series in a meeting with media.

"We would welcome the opportunity to play Texas A&M in every sport," Hocutt told reporters. "It was a fun rivalry, a good rivalry and one in the future that we can begin again."

Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman doesn't sound like he's standing in the way of the renewal either.

"We would entertain anything," he told the Dallas Morning News.

It's great to hear talk like that, and just like the Texas series, A&M's rivalry with Texas Tech will be a great game to get renewed. It's not the crown jewel like the Thanksgiving tradition between the state's two biggest football rivals, but it's a step in the right direction for sure.

Texas A&M and Missouri's 2011 exit to the SEC, less than a year after the Big 12 momentarily stabilized with 10 teams, inspired plenty of bad blood across the Big 12, but those feelings shouldn't stop rivalry games that helped make college football great from happening again. Texas Tech isn't Texas A&M's chief rival, but both programs love beating the other, and it can only help marquee rivalries like Texas and Texas A&M and Missouri and Kansas to resume before long.

Kingsbury, who took the head coaching job at Texas Tech after just one season as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator, joked that the Red Raiders should wait to schedule the game until Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel packs his bags and leaves A&M's campus.

The Red Raiders open spring practice on Friday, and Kingsbury met with reporters after throwing out the first pitch -- he says it was a strike -- at Texas Tech's baseball game against Arizona State on Tuesday.

The Journal noted that Hocutt spoke last fall of beefing up the nonconference schedule, but that it wouldn't be a possibility until 2015 of 2016, when the schedule was a bit clearer.

That would be fine with me, but the sooner Texas A&M gets to take the field against its old rivals from the Big 12, the better.

Notes: Kevin Sumlin happy with effort

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
5:00
PM ET
A few days removed from the raw emotion of a 20-17 season-opening loss to Florida, Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin noted several positives that he and his team could take away from the game, including effort and physicality. Sumlin said he was pleased with his team's effort on offense and defense and that he believed his team played physical. The fact that the Aggies did not turn the ball over was also a positive, but one of the negative sticking points he mentioned Saturday was repeated again on Tuesday: penalties.

"The three things we talk about going into every game: play hard, play smart and be physical," Sumlin said. " I thought we were extremely physical and I thought we played extremely hard. The intelligence part of the game, we did not. So when you're in a close game and you have nine penalties, for 78 yards, that's not going to cut it. I think Bill Polian, the NFL (executive) studied and said that there's a formula that every 10 yards of penalties is worth one point. So there's a lot of combinations into that. I think our players right now, after talking about that, they understand the importance of that part of the game also.

"And as I said, that was an emphasis coming into this year: turnover ratio and penalties. So we got one of them done on Saturday and really one of them, the other side, cost us the football game, which is a learning experience."

Familiar foe

With SMU on tap, it's an opponent Sumlin is plenty familiar with. While at Houston, Sumlin's Cougars met June Jones' Mustangs annually as they resided in the same Conference USA West division. This will be Sumlin's fifth year in a row to meet SMU.

"I have a lot of respect for June Jones," Sumlin said. "He's a guy who's taken SMU to a Conference USA championship game from nothing and really done a fine job with that program. June's a buddy. I think I asked him last time I saw him, if now he'll let me play in his golf tournament in Hawaii since we're not in the same league anymore. He said 'Well, we still play each other,' so I don't know if he's going to let me play in it."

(Read full post)

Aggies moving on to Florida

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
10:00
AM ET
After spending two weeks preparing for a game that has now been postponed, Texas A&M has turned the page and its attention to Florida.

With the Aggies' new season opener scheduled for Sept. 8 at Kyle Field after the original opener against Louisiana Tech, scheduled for Thursday, was postponed to Oct. 13 because of Hurricane Isaac, they closed the book on the Bulldogs and began preparing on Wednesday for the Gators.

"Today we moved on, we moved on to Florida," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said Wednesday during the SEC coaches' weekly teleconference. "And I think that obviously, our preparation has changed with the postponement of the game and the move of the game back to Oct. 13. So for our guys, it was kind of a bittersweet kind of situation. Guys were ready to play somebody else, they were down a little bit (Tuesday), but as we talked to them about where we are right now, finishing up our preparation for Louisiana Tech yesterday and really moving on to Florida. That's where our focus is right now."

According to new Texas A&M athletic director Eric Hyman, who met with reporters at Reed Arena on Wednesday, moving the game to Oct. 13 -- which was each team's open date -- was not what either team wanted to do.

"There's a lot of things that we looked at, the possibilities," Hyman said. "Our least desirable [option] from the get-go, from their perspective and our perspective was playing the game on Oct. 13.

"We based the decision on the facts that we knew at that time. [Tuesday] morning, it looked good. And then it changed. What it is today? I don't know. We tried to do what was the right thing to do based on the facts we had at that point in time. We looked at a lot of different possibilities, a lot of different options and none of them came [to fruition]."

Sumlin said he could sense a little bit of a letdown with his team when they got the news on Tuesday.

"I could sense a little bit of letdown (Tuesday) at practice," Sumlin said. "As I told the coaches, just looking at the coaching staff yesterday, because of all the effort and time you put into something, you kind of build emotionally to play a game. And when you get within 24 hours of leaving to go to play a game, it's a little bit of a letdown.

"It's kind of like anything else, you say, 'Hey, that's over with. We'll put our files away and you guys go home tonight and get some sleep and come back tomorrow and get ready to get up for Florida, and we as coaches will move on.' So (Tuesday) was kind of a downer but we understand the situation. I think as we got in here to work today and started in on our preparation for Florida, I think the excitement will build up and our guys will be ready to go."

Hyman acknowledged that the schedule change, which gives both teams 12 games in 12 weeks, becomes more of a challenge for the football team. But he also tried to keep the bigger picture in mind.

"We're very sensitive to the lives of people and putting them in harm's way," Hyman said. "We've got to factor that into it. The decision was made based on, from what I was told, the (Louisiana Tech) president and the athletic director and they talked to the weather experts, the security people, the safety people, it was a consensus from everybody that this was the thing to do, to cancel the game. So I've got to be respectful of them. These are honorable people and I've got to respect what they say."

Hyman said the option of moving the game to College Station was considered but ultimately the decision remained with the home team, Louisiana Tech.

"I don't know that we would give up a home game," Hyman said. "If we had a hurricane here would we do that? Would we go and play in Shreveport? Probably not.

"I would have done the same thing here. I would have gotten the weather people, security people, every expert in the area and they're the experts. I couldn't live with myself if I end up doing something and it turned out to be a catastrophe. I can't do that. So I've got to look at what's in the best interests of our fans, our students and those kind of things. It is a football game, but I don't want to put people in harm's way. I wouldn't do it from a dollar standpoint, I'd do it from a safety standpoint. What's the right thing to do?"

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Can Any 2015 Class Catch Alabama?
National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert handicaps the chances any program catches No. 1 Alabama in the 2015 ESPN class rankings.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 8/28
Saturday, 8/30
Sunday, 8/31