If you thought Texas A & M couldn’t stoop any lower after paying Jimbo Fisher a record amount to scram, you thought wrong because they did just that on Saturday night, as all signs pointed to the Aggies hiring Kentucky’s Mark Stoops. Reports by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman and Nicole Auerbach kicked off a brush fire and threw the Texas A&M fanbase into a tizzy. The smoke permeating from Texas A&M on X (formerly Twitter) wasn’t a celebration, it was a sign of revolt from fans burning their jerseys.
A&M message boards burst into flames as the deal was on the verge of becoming official. In the meantime, Stoops had a game to win against in-state rival Louisville. After securing a season-defining win over the 10th ranked Cardinals, Stoops was riding high into the sunset. At 10 pm, Stoops was as good as gone.
However, around midnight, ESPN’s Pete Thamel threw cold water on the rumors that Stoops would be assuming the reins at Texas A&M. Whether Texas A&M was gauging the public reaction or media reports jumped the gun, it soon became apparent that Stoops to Texas A&M was not in fact a done deal.
At 1 am EST, Stoops finally put the rumors to bed by announcing his intention to remain the Wildcats head coach, ending a chaotic day on the coaching carousel.
For his troubles, Stoops wasn’t even awarded financial incentives to stay. If this was a play by his agent, Jimmy Sexton, to earn him a pay raise with Kentucky, it failed miserably. You can bet opposing coaches are going to use this against Stoops on the recruiting trail.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M ends up right back where they started — a little bruised from the effort. The revolt that led A&M and Stoops to nuke the alleged deal serves as a reminder of what plagues the Aggies. Mark Stoops is the second-best Stoops brother. He’d be perfect for the Aggies if they ever realize they should stop trying to chase 10s in the coaching dating pool.
A&M still has the Johnny Manziel-era overconfidence permeating through the pores of its fans, who thought Ryan Day would be interested in abandoning his post and the lofty annual expectations at Ohio State for the calm, reasonable fanatics at Texas A&M. No coach without a national championship or a playoff appearance on his resume is good enough to coach their esteemed program, so you can understand why they were losing their minds over Stoops.
This is a program that has never really been in the hunt since joining the SEC. They were barely a factor in the Big 12 during the last decade and a half. Over in reality, they’re a middle-of-the-pack Big 12 program masquerading as an SEC powerbroker. Their confidence has led them to believe that a coach of Day’s caliber would be banging on the A&M door. A month ago, the Aggie faithful were drooling over the Deion Sanders marketing machine.
A&M should be targeting up-and-coming coaching prospects of substance. Instead, their delusions of grandeur have led them to believe that a coach in Mark Stoops who’s generated electricity at a “basketball school” within a bottom-rung SEC program which was winning two games a year prior to his arrival. There have been intermittent 10-win seasons, but for the most part, Stoops has overseen the longest period of success Kentucky football has ever experienced.
With one-tenth of A&M’s resources, Stoops has built a program that has logged an identical winning percentage to Texas A&M’s. Since 2018, Fisher has a 47-28 record, compared to Stoops’ 46-26, record record during that span.
Instead, A&M’s Napoleon Complex has led them to believe that they need to continue making big swings, no matter how badly they whiff and humiliate themselves.
Follow DJ Dunson on X: @cerebralsportex