The hiring of Jimbo Fisher was the most Texas A&M move ever. So was the firing.
The Aggies dumped Fisher on Sunday, despite $76 million left on his contract. Former athletic director Scott Woodward hired Fisher in 2017 to a record contract -- 10 years, $75 million, fully guaranteed. Current athletic director Ross Bjork reworked the deal after the 2020 season, the only one in which the team finished in the top 15 nationally (No. 4) under Fisher.
Since 2020, when the Aggies went 8-1 during an SEC-only schedule before beating North Carolina in the Orange Bowl, it had become clear that Fisher wouldn't get Texas A&M to the next level. He's lost four or more games in every year except that one, failing to turn top-ranked recruiting classes and Texas A&M's vast resources into on-field success. He finishes 45-25 in nearly six seasons at the school.
Texas A&M enters a quiet coaching market as the first power conference team to make a change based on team performance. The school could look for another splashy national name like Fisher, who brought a national championship and three ACC titles from Florida State to College Station. It could seek a coach more rooted in the state and the region than Fisher was or seemingly cared to be. The school likely will examine a variety of models, including what's happening at rival Texas, to see what works.
Will money matter, especially after the historic payout to Fisher and his staff?
"At some point, it has to," an industry source said.
Texas A&M has underachieved year after year, having never made the College Football Playoff and having gone without a conference title since 1998. There's no reason that should happen at a major program in Texas with plenty of financial backing. Texas A&M hasn't had consecutive AP top-10 finishes since a streak of three straight from 1992 to 1994.
"It's a national place," a coaching agent said. "It's different than a Baylor or a TCU. But you've got to recruit Texas."
At first blush, Texas A&M's candidate pool isn't overly deep, in part because the school likely will target established coaches. But Texas A&M is a wealthy, ambitious, unpredictable and volatile place, so a lot of things are possible.
Here's a look at eight possible coaching candidates for the Aggies.