Sumlin was the first name that surfaced when Sherman was fired but a lot went on over the 9 day stretch but he was certainly not the only one. In my last post I mentioned three other initial candidates, Charlie Strong, Larry Fedora, & Kirby Smart.
Louisville put up a huge roadblock in terms of allowing Strong to interview and it came out that he had a $1m+ buyout in his contract. Fedora's name was hot and he was offered and accepted the North Carolina job mid-week. Smart - I'm not sure what happened there but from everything I was reading he seemed to be the least likely to get tabbed.
One of the reasons that this process drug out as long as it did was because Bill Byrne went after a couple of big fish. Early on, Mark Richt of Georgia was rumored to be interested but I don't know if any sort of official discussions took place. Byrne also interviewed Gary Patterson of TCU but I don't think we wanted to push for him as hard as we would have needed to to get him - he has a pretty cush setup right now at TCU.
Chris Peterson of Boise State was Byrne's wild card. Peterson has been rumored for every big job that has become available in the last 4 years but has never budged. There was apparently some interest with our job but we couldn't get the crazy money together that would have been needed to make it work.
Regardless of who was interviewed, Coach Sumlin is our new man.
This is his second go-round in College Station after serving under R.C. as the WR/TE coach in '01 and then mid-season '02 he was promoted to offensive coordinator and rose along with Reggie.
When R.C. was fired Sumlin moved on to Norman where he stayed from '03-'07, acting as the co-offensive coordinator in his final two seasons there. He was supposedly Coach Sherman's top candidate for OC when Sherman took the job in '08 but was offered the HC gig at Houston and couldn't pass that up for a coordinator position.
2008: 8-5At UH, Sumlin built on what Art Briles had started prior to taking off for Baylor. In his second season you might recall in 2009 his Cougs knocking off #5 ranked oSu in Stillwater and the following week knocking off Leach's texas tech squad in Houston putting them in the AP rankings for the first time since the old SWC days in the early-90s.
In 2010, after starting out 2-0, Sumlin lost his both his starting QB, Case Keenum and backup Cotton Turner in their third game of the season and played out the rest of the season with their third string QB. That's a might tough blow to take, having to play with your third string QB for the final 9 games.
In 2011 with Keenum back at the helm the Cougars ran the table going 12-0 with a BCS bid guaranteed before completely crumbling in the C-USA Championship game to Southern Miss....at home. Had the Cougars won that game I think there would be very little grumbling from A&M fans but everyone and their brother watched this game knowing that there was a strong chance he would be taking over our program and we all saw a mirror of what happened to us all season and it took the gloss off the Sumlin bandwagon.
Of course it is ridiculous for one game to make or break your opinion but what it did was put a chink in the armor and made fans take a step back and reassess all the potential candidates.
There are detractors who have questioned a few things, all of which I feel are legitimate:
- He didn't win a CUSA championship in his 4 years at UH
- Can he recruit? He won a lot with Keenum - but Keenum was a holdover from Briles. Seeing it being done at Purdue, A&M, and OU is one thing but overseeing it is another
- How does he address the glaring need for a stout defense in the SEC?
UH's National Rankings:
PRE-Sumlin WITH Sumlin
'06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11
Tot O 7 4 2 1 11 1
Sco O 10 23 10 T1 13 1
'06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11
Tot D 72 46 100 111 103 64
Sco D 64 74 91 95 96 41
His defensive coordinator hire is going to have to be a big success for me to get completely on board. The other problem there is that he is not only going to have to hire a defensive coordinator who can succeed but he's going to have to keep him or be able to replace him with someone equal or better - because good DCs leave and become HCs elsewhere.
Along that front, current DC, Tim DeRuyter, just took the HC job at Fresno State and it looks like the rest of our defensive staff will be departing as well (Toth & Dat are both rumored to be joining DeRuyter in Cali). The one mainstay we have to keep will be DL coach Terrell Williams, who is knocking it out of the park on the recruiting trail.
Overall, I'm luke warm on this whole ordeal. I don't like that we're going into a new conference with a new head coach and a new QB and I'm not thrilled that we hired an offensive guy and I really thought that if we were going to fire Sherman right now it was because we were going to go out and make a big splash with a big name, proven guy.
I've heard Sumlin on the radio quite a bit here in Houston and I do really like him - but I'm still not sure if this is a step up or just a step onto a new staircase. I guess we'll have to see how all his coordinator hires goes before I can decide if this is a better situation than what we had.
As they say, only time will tell.
Welcome to Aggieland Coach Sumlin!