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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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‘We are not reaching our full potential’

Photo by Chris Swann/The Battalion

Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork speaks to the media during a press conference on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023 at Kyle Field. Bjork, after terminating Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Sunday morning, said he felt the football program is “stuck in neutral” and didn’t meet the standards of consistency the program needed. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

On Sunday, Nov. 12, Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork addressed the media after the announcement that Jimbo Fisher had been relieved of his duties early Sunday morning. Mark Robinson, associate director of football operations, was also let go.

“We are not in the championship conversation and something was not quite right about our direction and the plan,” Bjork said.

Bjork said he came to the conclusion after last Saturday’s loss to Ole Miss, and recommended to Interim President Mark Welsh III that a change had to be made the following Sunday night.

“Athletic Director Ross Bjork has my full support as he begins a national search for a new head coach,” Welsh wrote in a statement. “I am confident he will find a great coach and leader with a commitment to the values that drive Texas A&M.”

With the resources available to them, A&M football was not reaching its full potential, Bjork said, and despite a blowout victory against Mississippi State the night prior, A&M Athletics had to move quickly with the early signing period approaching next month.

“You’re either moving forward, or you’re stuck,” Bjork said. “We were stuck … You know how you’re driving down the highway and it’s a four-lane road … I like 75-80 [MPH]. Somebody’s in the left lane, and they’re going 55 and they won’t move over. We were that car going 55. Something had to give.”

Defensive line coach Elijah Robinson will fill in as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. Bjork said part of the timing for the firing was so Robinson could get used to the role against an easier opponent in Abilene Christian as opposed to LSU or A&M’s future bowl matchup.

“Elijah is all about the players,” Bjork said. “The reaction was awesome today when he spoke to the team. I wanted somebody that players would gravitate towards. It’s going to be a lot coming their way, we know what that means. I’ve already seen a lot of positivity about his leadership.”

Fisher’s termination will cost a $76.8 million buyout that Bjork said will be paid for solely by Texas A&M Athletics and the 12th Man Foundation.

“We will use unrestricted contributions within the 12th Man Foundation for the first one-time payments,” Bjork said. “The athletic department will fund the annual payments for the remaining portion by growing our revenues and adjusting our annual operating budget accordingly.”

Bjork said that he will hire a football advisory group to help in the search for a new head coach, as well as gather information from former players and industry experts.

“Here’s the profile of what we will work from,” Bjork said. “A coach that has a program identity, great interpersonal skills, track record of player development, commitment to academics, a recruiting machine, supreme organizational skills, culture of discipline, passion for the game, proven winner, strong leadership skills, involved in the community, of course knowledge of X’s and O’s and someone that understand and also can capitalize in today’s modern-day athletics.”

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