Death, Taxes, and not winning a bidding war with Texas A&M athletics. 3 constants in this world right there. Texas A&M Athletics not only has more money than God, they’re also desperate enough to throw it at what they consider worthy causes. John Chavis during his tenure at Texas A&M became the highest paid assistant coach of all-time and who can forget the ludicrous Jimbo Fisher contract worth $75 million dollars.
Upon hearing the news that LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva was stepping down this morning, speculation was that LSU would at least if nothing else attempt to hire Louisianian and Texas A&M Athletic Director Scott Woodward. As a homegrown entity and a top tier AD, it wouldn’t be due diligence if they didn’t make the call. Conjecture around his candidacy was that there was no way in hell Texas A&M would let him go, and with the Aggie money to keep him happy LSU would have to find another candidate. Despite growing up around LSU and being a former employee for the Tigers, it was thought that the Aggies would offer a raise large enough to off-set that emotional appeal.
So Texas A&M lost the AD that hired slam dunks like Jimbo Fisher and more recently Buzz Williams to get their Football and Basketball teams back on track and breathe life back into the struggling programs. Woodward hacked the code of hiring coaches by basically just throwing more money at guys you want until they couldn’t say no, and their current school couldn’t match. You have to believe that Texas A&M did the same in attempting to get Woodward to stay. The Aggies were paying Woodward $900,000/yr. whereas the Tigers paid their now former AD Joe Alleva $725,000/yr. With Woodward making roughly 25% more than Alleva, it’s reasonable to assume that LSU offered Woodward a raise from what he was making at A&M to try and swoon him. Again, figures haven’t been released but if he got a 25% raise from the Bayou Bengals it would place him at 1.12 mil a year. For the success starved Aggies, one would also assume that they matched and offered a raise. He’s earned it, as there hasn’t been as much buzz around the major sports programs in decades. And hell, the gave Jimbo Fisher THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS more than what he was set to make at FSU, you don’t think they couldn’t throw around a cool half-a-mil to keep the guy running the resuscitated athletic department? I get it’s a chance to go back home…but a couple million bucks would be enough to keep anyone where they were for the time being, and it’s not like College Station is far from Louisiana. Me personally, I don’t believe that Texas A&M lost a bidding war OR that Woodward left tons of money on the table to go back home.
So why then did he leave?
Weeeeeeeell, turns out the Aggies are just as dysfunctional as ever.
The Aggie athletic program for those who don’t know has a disease one might call “Booster-itis”. All that oil money I mentioned earlier? It has to come from somewhere, and where it comes from is the pockets of very rich Texans. You combine Texan bravado with deep pockets and you get a lethal combination. See, boosters think that the more money they “donate” to the Aggies, then the more input they should have on how things are run. Most large Universities have some sort of Booster-itis, but it’s amplified in the Lone Star State due to the nature of those boosters. The University of Texas has been stricken with this illness before as well, and it seems it’s dealt the Aggies a big blow. Picture how Jerry Jones runs the Cowboys, and now imagine that x50, but they’re insecure men in ostrich boots and big belt buckles playing cowboy. That’s the Texas A&M booster starter pack.
The craziest part of this development, and hear me out because it’s a little conspiracy theorist-ish, is the connection with Jimbo Fisher and his contract. The Aggies (Woodward) signed Jimbo to a $75 million dollar contract with NO buyout clause. If Jimbo wants to leave…he’s free to do so, and the school he went too wouldn’t owe A SINGLE CENT to Texas A&M. Imagine a world where Ed Orgeron gets fired, Woodward hires Jimbo at LSU (Jimbo is from Louisiana as well) and College Station gets wiped out by the simultaneous wildfire of $60 million dollars getting burned and a biblical flood of Aggie tears. Talk about a long Con. One can only hope.
Woodward turned down more money to get the hell out of College Station and away from people who annually mourn the deaths of 8 different Border Collies.
Call it a win for LSU and a win for Woodward.