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Texas A&M hires new head football coach


After almost two weeks of a roller coaster search, Texas A&M hired Mike Elko to be their 30th head coach of the football team.

Elko was a former defensive coordinator under the previous head coach, Jimbo Fisher, for three years.
For the last three years, he held the head coaching position at the University of Duke. In two seasons at Duke, he went 16-9 and was the ACC coach of the year, turning what was considered a basketball college into a decent football school.

There were ten candidates for the head coaching position after Fisher was fired, but in the end, the twenty-year coaching veteran was signed on a six-year contract at $7 million per year.

Unlike Fisher’s contract, which has gone down as the worst deal in college football history with $78 million in buy-outs, Elko’s contract is filled with incentives to win.

If he makes and wins the college football championship, A&M will pay him almost $4 million more and the university would most likely mean his contract would be restructured to give him more money to stay longer with the program.

In his first press conference, Elko promised his fans that “a new era has begun” with his hiring and that he has a vision of what Aggie football could be like.

Reports of his hiring surfaced after the rumors that Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops would switch sides of the Southeastern Conference and join the Fightin’ Texas Aggies, but those rumors soon turned out to be false when Stoops himself said that he would be staying for another season as the head coach of Kentucky football. An uproar on social media by Aggies also helped reverse the decision, as most of them didn’t want another middle-aged mediocre head coach who can’t succeed in the Southeastern Conference, which is what Texas A&M and Kentucky currently have.

Other candidates, including Arizona’s Jedd Fisch, UTSA’s Jeff Traylor, and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney were all considered before A&M Athletics extended an offer to Mike Elko.

When Fisher was first fired on November 12, Mike Elko, Jeff Traylor, and Oregon’s Dan Lanning were the favorites to win the coaching job at A&M, but Elko prevailed after flying to Aggieland to be offered the position.

The A&M job was one of the most desired positions in all of college football with a Top Ten defense and prized quarterback Conner Weigman, who will return for the 2024 season after suffering a foot injury in the week four Auburn game.

As a result of the hiring, 18 players from around the country have transferred into the institute, including former Bryan High football standout Nic Scourton. Scourton, formerly Caraway, was a star defensive end at Bryan High before attending Purdue University. Other notable transfers include Florida linebacker Scooby Williams, Kansas State cornerback Will Lee, and Old Dominion wide receiver Javon Harvey.

However, with the hire, multiple star studded A&M players have announced their intent to transfer out of the program. Evan Stewart, one of the best wide receivers in the country, does not want to return next year. He has not committed to any other school, but has no plans to return after dozens of cryptic tweets about him never receiving NIL money from the Aggies. Ten other starters have transferred, including defensive tackles Fadil Diggs, defensive backs Deuce Harmon and Tyreek Chappel, and offensive linemen Chase Bisontis and Remington Strickland.

After almost twenty years of depressing inferiority, I believe Mike Elko can turn this football squad around because of his defensive mind. Past Aggie coaches have only had offensive mindsets, so now with the Aggies leaning in another direction, this could propel the Twelfth Man into a whole new era.

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William Zwerneman
William Zwerneman, Staff Writer
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