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The Battalion

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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One step away
June 8, 2024

Thank you, Kevin Sumlin

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Photo by FILE

Kevin Sumlin was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2012 after finishing the year with an 11-2 record a national ranking of fifth in the final AP Poll. 

Kevin Sumlin, you put Texas A&M back on the map.
Things did not end the way anyone wanted them to, but in six years you did something that had not been done since my parents were in school — you made A&M nationally relevant.
Sure, there were Everest-like peaks that drove the Aggies through the college football world and lows as deep and dry as Death Valley that sometimes felt like a scorching hell. But at the end of the day, you were right in what you said at your final press conference in Tiger Stadium — you are leaving A&M and its football program in better shape than when you found it.
With the exception of this season, Sumlin led A&M to top-10 rankings in each of his first five seasons in at least the second month of each season. He orchestrated an outrageous offense in his opening season that produced the second Heisman Trophy winner in school history and he gave the Aggies their first No. 1 NFL Draft pick.
Sumlin proved that A&M could compete in the almighty SEC — on the field, in recruiting and in the absurd facilities race — something few outsiders envisioned when the Aggies were bold enough to leave the Big 12 in 2011.
Year in and year out under Sumlin, A&M was at one point in contention to make a run at a championship when things were beginning to get serious in the season.
But we all know the story: A&M could not win down the stretch or in division games at home and ultimately made too many mistakes on and off the field that led to the head man being let go. That is not to say that what Kevin Sumlin accomplished was sub-par by any means. It just was not championship-caliber, or at the level the Aggies wanted.
The bottom line is that Sumlin guided the maroon and white to its most successful and consistent stretch in two decades in what Sumlin himself said is arguably the toughest division in the toughest conference.
Under Sumlin, A&M won three-straight bowl games for the third time in school-history, which was the first time the Aggies had done so in consecutive years. Sumlin also never had a losing season or one under .500 during his tenure at A&M, a feat no Aggie head coach has accomplished since D.X. Bible was walking the sidelines in the 1920s.
Junior linebacker and 12th Man Cullen Gillaspia summed it up well — it is a shame that a team not reaching 10 wins each year results in its head coach being put on the chopping block. In the almighty SEC, 14 teams compete for a title, but only one comes away victorious in Atlanta on the first weekend of December.
While Sumlin’s time in Aggieland is over, he leaves his office in the Bright Complex running and ready to go for the next man who sits there. Unlike many coaching changes, there is no scandal the Aggies will have to face in the years to come. He is not leaving after a crushing season that leaves A&M at the bottom of the division. Sumlin leaves this program in a position he described perfectly following his final game as the Aggies’ head man — with the ability to go much further in years to come.
Thank you, Kevin Sumlin. Thank you for showing that Texas A&M can achieve greatness.
Alex Miller is a journalism sophomore and assistant sports editor for The Battalion.

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