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.