LSU Football ended a long coaching search last week by hiring Brian Kelly away from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Kelly is an extremely accomplished coach, but he wasn’t the Tigers’ first choice.
In fact, he might not have even been LSU’s second choice.
But he was absolutely the best choice.
LSU football wanted to hire Jimbo Fisher away from Texas A&M
It appears that LSU’s first choice was Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher.
(The second choice may have been Lincoln Riley.)
Tigers athletic director Scott Woodward hired Fisher at Texas A&M (Fisher was then the head coach at Florida State). So it makes sense that Woodward was pursuing him for the LSU opening.
On Tuesday, college football insider Brett McMurphy reported that LSU was prepared to offer Fisher $13 million a year to return to Baton Rouge.
LSU fans should be thrilled this deal didn’t work out.
Look, Fisher is a good coach. But he’s not worth $13 million a year. And he’s not better than Kelly.
If you take away the fact that Fisher coached at LSU from 2000-2006 and his national championship at Florida State in 2013 (which was thanks mostly to fabulous play from quarterback Jameis Winson), he would’ve been an afterthought in this search.
Fisher’s Florida State program started trending in the wrong direction after the 2013 season. In his final season in Tallahassee, he went 5-6 with the Seminoles.
In year four at Texas A&M, Fisher went 8-4. That includes losses to Mississippi State and LSU (though he gets credit for beating Alabama).
How is that worth $13 million a year?
The obvious answer is that it’s not. That type of contract to Fisher would’ve set the program back several years. Expecting Fisher to find more success at LSU than he’s found at Texas A&M would be absurd. Fisher’s routinely landed top 5-10 classes at Texas A&M the last few years, yet here he is in year four going 8-4. The talent wouldn’t be that much better at LSU.
Fisher is basically finding the same amount of success at Texas A&M that previous head coach Kevin Sumlin found (Sumlin was 51-26 during his time in College Station).
Can you imagine LSU giving Sumlin $13 million a year to lead the program? There would be a fan revolt if that happened.
LSU fans should be glad Fisher didn’t seriously consider taking over for Ed Orgeron. This search worked out for the best. It just took a while to work out.