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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 8, 2024

Sumlin’s firing taken care of the right way

Then+head+coach+Kevin+Sumlin+greets+fans+after+returning+from+Tuscaloosa+after+upsetting+then+No.+1+Alabama+in+2012.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Roger Zhang

Then head coach Kevin Sumlin greets fans after returning from Tuscaloosa after upsetting then No. 1 Alabama in 2012. 

College football is a cut-throat profession — there’s no other way to put it. In the weeks that lead up to the end of any given season, head football coaches are fired left and right.
This season, Texas A&M found itself at the center of a coaching controversy and was given several examples of how not to handle the firing of Kevin Sumlin. Arkansas fired Bret Bielema as he walked off the field against Missouri and UCLA notified Jim Mora that he was no longer the head coach on his birthday.
The day following the Aggies’ 45-21 loss to LSU in Baton Rouge, Texas A&M notified Kevin Sumlin that he would no longer be the head man in charge. Special teams coordinator Jeff Banks will take over in the meantime, as the Aggies still have to prepare for a bowl game.
As the speculation continued to grow in the days leading up to the LSU game, there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong for the A&M athletics administration — some of them did, but they recovered.
On the Tuesday leading up to the matchup in Death Valley, Sumlin held his weekly press conference and it was business as usual, until a series of questions about his future at A&M abruptly cut Sumlin’s availability short.
However, at the time, Sumlin said he had not talked with officials within the department and to his knowledge he expected to be the coach at the end of the season.
Later that day, the Houston Chronicle reported that sources within the department had told the Chronicle that regardless of the outcome of the game against the Tigers, Sumlin was to be let go.
Thus, began the storm of criticism on social media by coaches and players who were part of the A&M program. An unnamed assistant coach had some choice words on how the administration was handling the situation, reported by Sports Illustrated.
On social media, team captains Cullen Gillaspia and Trayveon Williams candidly expressed their opinions, some of which were supported by Christian Kirk and other players in the form of retweets or likes.
During his Wednesday teleconference, Sumlin remained confident that he was to retain his position.
In the midst of all that, A&M had a very crucial game to prepare for, on the road, in arguably one of the most hostile environments in the SEC. A&M was able to contain the rumors and keep the off the field distractions to a minimum.
At first, it looked like Texas A&M was going to have a messy fallout with Sumlin. But at the end of the day, A&M officials let Sumlin do what was asked of him — try to win a football game — and when he was unable to do that, they stuck to their word and relieved him of his duties.
Like in many cases, it’s never easy to fire someone regardless of the position however, A&M gave Sumlin the treatment he deserved. Nothing but respect and class for a coach who arguably changed Texas A&M football for the better.
Angel Franco is a telecommunication media studies junior and sports editor for The Battalion.

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