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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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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Woodward, Young create perfect storm to bring in Fisher

Photo by Cassie Stricker

Texas A&M Athletic Director Scott Woodward and new A&M head football coach Jimbo Fisher have had a professional relationship since the two worked together at LSU from 2000 – 2004. 

Scott Woodward used to sit through Jimbo Fisher’s team meetings while Fisher served as the offensive coordinator at LSU under Nick Saban. Over a decade later, Woodward, Texas A&M’s athletic director, welcomed Fisher on stage as Texas A&M’s new head football coach.
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young and Woodward also had previously worked alongside one another at the University of Washington in the same roles they now hold at A&M. During his tenure at UW, Woodward was responsible for the hiring of Chris Peterson from Boise State, which at the time was considered an astounding feat.
Woodward’s relationships with both Fisher and Young before his time at A&M created the perfect storm for ensuring Fisher would become A&M’s 29th head football coach.
Nearly two years ago, when Young was looking for someone to replace former A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman, he said Woodward was the right person for the job.
“Scott and I worked real closely together at the University of Washington,” Young said at the time of Woodward’s hiring. “He was part of my senior cabinet as he will be here as well. And in that context I learned a number of things. One is the absolute integrity and reliability of this man, to know that I knew what was going on that I needed to know, in terms of athletics.”
At the time of his hiring, Woodward promised A&M he would do everything possible for its 20 athletic teams to compete at the highest level, both on and off the field.
That can be seen across campus in Woodward’s 23 months in College Station with a co-SEC championship title in men’s basketball in 2016, national championship in indoor track and both baseball and softball teams reaching their respective World Series in 2017.
“When I took the job I thought we’d shoot for excellence from day one,” Woodward said. “This is what we thought it was about. It was my goal always. It’s an endorsement of Texas A&M that we could get a quality coach who I think is one of the best in the business in Jimbo Fisher.”
All of these accomplishments led up to the possibility of bringing Fisher to A&M, despite his stability at Florida State. Fisher said if it were not for his relationship with Woodward, he would not have considered taking the job in Aggieland.
“He had the vision to tell me the things he wanted and I had the relationship and I knew him,” Fisher said. “The trust and the same vision we shared back at LSU, 17 years ago, with a lot of the same situations to overcome.”
Monday, as A&M put the final touches to Fisher’s $7.5 million dollar contract that spans over a 10 year period, Woodward said his respect for Fisher has strengthened over time.
“I first met Jimbo in 2000 and quickly became an admirer, not just of his coaching acumen but more importantly of his infectious approach to the young men in his charge,” Woodward said. “In the ensuing years as I’ve watched from afar, he ascended to the highest levels of the game and won a national championship but remained true to who he is — a football coach and a father.”
With other universities across the country making headlines for the challenges they face while looking for their respective head coach, Young said having Woodward handle the coaching search was something he was delighted with.
“There are examples right now in the public sphere of ways that one might not want to do this, and there are ways to do it,” Fisher said. “I am so pleased to have Scott here and have the support of the board and the chancellor to do this the right way, and I think they did. Once we kind of figured out what the right thing to do was, I think they did exceptionally well.”
Woodward said he was thankful to have the opportunity to bring Fisher to A&M and he also made clear they are putting the pieces in place to compete for championships as soon as possible, but they aren’t going to rush it.
“I think I was very lucky in landing a guy of Jimbo’s character and pedigree,” Woodward said. “He expects championships and he expects to get it done in a hurry. There are a lot of factors that weigh into this. Our goals are our goals and it’s always what we do and how we do to strive and get there.”
Young said while there were a fair amount candidates, Woodward and Young went after their top target.
“We talked about a lot of people, I don’t know if he actually wrote them down or not but we certainly talked about a lot of people,” Young said. “There is no No. 2 at Texas A&M, we don’t ever go to No. 2. We start at No. 1 and we always get No. 1.”

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