When Kevin Sumlin was forming his first staff at Texas A&M he was turned down by former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, settling for South Florida’s Mark Snyder.

We all know how that turned out.

Who knows, maybe Sumlin is still coaching at A&M if he lands Narduzzi. 

Fast forward six years and Jimbo Fisher can’t land LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda and within hours he gets Notre Dame’s Mike Elko. That’s settling for A-1.1 instead of A-1, though, which is which, since it appears A&M might have tried to hire Elko first. There's no doubt A&M didn't have to settle for second or third.

Things have changed.

It doesn't seem that long ago that A&M defensive coordinator Bob Davie left the ninth-ranked Aggies coming off a 10-2 season in 1993 for Notre Dame.  You can’t blame him, it was Notre Dame. Also, Davie wanted to be a head coach and R.C. Slocum wasn’t going anywhere.

Now it’s someone leaving Notre Dame to come to Texas A&M to pad the resume for a possible head coaching job.

Indeed, things have changed.

A&M is a destination place. How much of that is Fisher, a half a billion-dollar stadium, the SEC, being in Texas or A&M being able to spend money faster than the government can print it is your guess. It’s probably all those things.

There’s no doubt A&M is getting a lot of bang for its millions right now. All A&M has to do to keep it going is win games.


I read where a reason Elko took the Notre Dame job was he thought after watching film that the Irish could be great again.

It will be interesting to hear why he came to A&M.


Elko, who also coaches safeties, ran a 4-2-5 defense at Notre Dame.

The beat writer for Irish Illustrated said Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly needs to find a defensive coordinator who can check all the boxes that Elko did — tactician, motivator, elite recruiter, master talent evaluator, visionary.

That's a pretty good testimony for guy walking out the door after a year.


Elko for the 2013 season at Bowling Green at DC made $130,000. Now he’s going to be making roughly $2 million a year probably more with incentives.

Is this a great country or what?


There were 15 assistants who earned at least $1 million in 2017, according to USA Today, nine of them in the Southeastern Conference, including seven in the SEC West – A&M’s John Chavis ($1.6 million), Alabama’s Jeremy Pruitt ($1.3 million) and Brian Daboll ($1.2 million), Auburn’s Kevin Steele ($1.2 million), Ole Miss’ Wesley McGriff ($1 million) LSU’s Matt Canada ($1.5 million), and Aranda.

LSU to keep Aranda had to give him a guaranteed four-year, $10-million contract, making him the first assistant to earn two mil a year. Elko it appears will be the second (though it all could change as I type this after what’s happened this week).

According to the USA Today report, 63 head coaches made less than $2 million in 2017, including Narduzzi. Maybe he should have accepted Sumlin’s offer.


Salaries are exploding. In 2014 there were only three assistants who made more than a million - LSU’s Cam Cameron and Johns Chavis and Clemson’s Chad Morris.

(4) comments


I used to own a 1978 Plymouth Voyager maxi-van (the old 15-pax model). It was a poorly made vehicle and showed why Congress had to bail Chrysler out with a huge government loan in 1979. After that infusion of cash, what did Chrysler do to turn their company around? They hired Lee Iacocca, the CEO of Ford, who had just been fired because he and Henry Ford II disagreed on how to proceed into the future. I'm sure they had to pay him well to take on a job nobody wanted. lacocca brought many of his staff from Ford and turned Chrysler around with the ideas that H. Ford II rejected, and he was very successful in his 13 years with Chrysler. Remember Ford’s slogan under Iacocca? “At Ford, Quality is Job One”. After turning Chrysler around, his new slogan was “If you can find a better car, buy it”. Hmmm? Sounds very similar to what's going on at A&M, doesn't it? When your "company" is in trouble, sometimes a change in leadership and vision (especially vision) are what's needed to turn it around. If A&M concerned itself with "limits" and favored caution over common sense, they would have stayed with Sumlin's staff - - and A&M would surely remain an also-ran team in a great conference, doomed to mediocrity. Is that what Aggie supporters want, or deserve? I don’t know if Fisher, et al., will be able to turn the program around, but how will you know if you don’t make the commitment to get the best to lead it? Under Iacocca, Chrysler repaid their loan seven years ahead of time. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the same thing happen in Aggieland? It surely would be headed in the wrong direction by staying the course, or hiring bargain basement coaches. If hiring Fisher is abandoning limits and caution, then it’s time to scrap football forever, because you’ve thrown in the towel. I wonder what that would do to future student enrollment if the major revenue sport went away?


ejsjr ! how is the temperature at your place today ?

edward szewczyk

The only thing that seems to have changed is that Texas A&M has abandoned all limits, caution and common sense in the matter of salaries for football coaches. The Aggies simply made Elko a monetary offer that he could not refuse. It doesn't have anything to do with the quality of A&M or its program. Elko's loyalties will only go as far as his next paycheck.


Let's see, why would he leave ND and come to TAMU? Hmmm. I going out on a limb here but I think it might be the winter climate in BCS.
Oh, sure he is making almost 10 x the salary, but the weather in Indiana is really bad in the winter.

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