Golden: If Texas really wants Urban Meyer, then Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is the blueprint
If you want Urban Meyer, then go get him, Texas.
Pay the former Ohio State coach whatever you have to, but don’t hide behind some notion that too much is too much.
If you want some true perspective, just ask the Aggies how they’re living these days.
Let’s stop pretending that college football isn’t a billion-dollar operation whose best companies (programs) are run by hard-driving CEOs (coaches) who are brought in to win.
Texas should not care about optics, not if the school is at all serious about returning to the national elite. Results are all that matter in this game. If you graduate some kids along the way, that’s a great bonus.
If they truly believe Meyer can return the program to the promised land — something Herman’s employers were saying just two years ago after the Sugar Bowl win over Georgia— then athletic director Chris Del Conte and President Jay Hartzell had better head to the bank.
Not that it matters as much in these parts, but the current state of affairs in College Station aren’t making things much easier to stomach on the Forty Acres. Former Big 12 rival Texas A&M is having a nice little season and much of the credit has to go the Aggies sparing no expense to bring in a coach who could elevate the program and eventually compete for national titles.
Apparently that time has arrived sooner than expected. In just his third year, Jimbo Fisher has the Aggies sitting at 6-1 and ranked fifth in the latest College Football Playoff standings, one spot out of the playoff.
Unless Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson or Ohio State slip up down the stretch, the Aggies are destined to play in a New Year’s Six bowl, a huge step up from the Texas, Gator, Belk, Music City, Liberty and Chick-fil-A bowls they have played in previous seasons since a Cotton Bowl appearance in 2013.
It’s funny how none of the national pundits are talking about Fisher’s salary now that his team is 11-3 over its last 14 games. A&M administration took some heat for effectively pulling a Brinks truck up to Fisher’s Florida home three years ago.
The goal was to entice the then Florida State coach into leaving Tallahassee for College Station, a tough sell given that Fisher was relatively comfortable, having won the 2013 national title with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston at the helm.
The 10-year, $75 million deal was lambasted in some circles as classic overspending by a program that hadn’t won anything of huge substance since the Great Depression (not the pandemic-causing great depression of present day, but the other one, back in the 1930s).
The Aggies cut the check and the program is clearly on an upward arc in Fisher’s third season. He’s 23-10 in College Station and his 15-8 record in the SEC is pretty impressive considering the Aggies are always going to play SEC divisional opponents Alabama, Auburn and LSU, schools that have won eight of the last 13 national championships.
A&M will be favored in their final three games against Auburn, Tennessee and Ole Miss (if it’s rescheduled), which would conclude the Aggies’ first double-digit winning season since the Johnny Manziel days.
One year before Fisher arrived, then UT President Gregory L. Fenves and athletic director Mike Perrin wasted no time in jettisoning Charlie Strong and bringing in Herman to save the program. The belief was they had landed the next Mack Brown. Come to think of it, Mack was in the building at Moncrief to lend support to his former graduate assistant.
“We got our man,” Fenves said. “And that man is the hottest coach in college football today.”
Texas paid the money, Herman happily took it, and after that 10-4 season of 2018 that ended with a Longhorns party in New Orleans, the administration doubled down on that confidence and extended him two more years with a nice raise. It followed the unnecessary pattern at Texas of throwing money at a coach based on early success. The No. 9 finish in the 2018 national rankings was thought to be a sign of things to come, though it should be mentioned the Horns were just the second team in 29 years to finish inside the top 10 with four losses.
Spin ahead two years, and many Longhorns fans have tired of “our man” and are hoping for a little bit of Urban renewal in the 512. Meyer hasn’t said it publicly, but anyone with knowledge of coaching egos can deduce that he has an ear turned toward what’s happening in Austin.
The money to buy out Herman — who is an unimpressive 30-18 overall and 9-10 against ranked teams — and bring in Meyer and a new staff could stretch well past what the Aggies paid for Fisher for all we know, but make no mistake, the possibility of another golden age — remember VY and Colt? — and those purse strings will loosen in the administration, donors and especially among the big-money boosters who are undoubtedly exchanging texts with Del Conte daily.
If you want him, go get him.
No price is too steep when one gets what one wants.
Just ask the Aggies.