One of the more tired cliches in college football (and there are many!) is everyone getting lathered up in a clamor and gargling out the phrase “dreaded vote of confidence” every time a school’s Athletic Director or President tosses out the word in a soundbyte in relation to his head coach.
Y’all, Kevin Sumlin has been here before. Multiple times. Those other two “dreaded votes of confidence” were just in January of last year. Hell, we haven’t seen someone get this many more votes than their colleagues and still lose in November since Hillary ran for President.
So here we are, fifteen months later, and he’s got another one from another AD. This one was tucked into a late-March Tuesday in the midst of a meaningless cycle of non-content headlines such as “Tom Herman Busts Out The Grill” and “Nick Saban Rant Caption Contest Was A Stinkbomb.” If there’s something to wring our hands about here, it shouldn’t be a randomly-timed assessment of Sumlin’s performance; it should be that some media entities have decided that we are the lowest common denominator and must be catered to accordingly.
Not that everything’s peachy in Aggieland. The crumbling and limping finishes over the last few years have been agonizing after the powerful starts. But the online pillorying of a coach who has yet to really have a truly bad season just for the sin of not having great seasons lately might not be in the long-term best interest. Not when that coach has quietly become the fourth-most tenured head guy in the SEC (he was hired a week after Ole Miss hired Hugh Freeze, so basically a tie for 3rd, but we don’t want the RCR folks coming over here to #wellactually us). Look, we pound this point into the ground on this site, but it’s worth repeating: the money spent on staff and the facilities arms race are not birthrights of a ‘Bama or LSU-esque program stature. That’s simply the cost of doing business in the SEC West. It doesn’t make us unique or any more deserving of success than an Ole Miss or an Auburn. There was a frightening dearth of available proven head coaching candidates this past carousel season, and certainly no one worth taking a shot on over a guy winning two-thirds of his games already.
The votes of confidence in 2016 were brought on by a mass QB exodus, Sumlin’s first bowl loss, more staff turnover, and all the other off-season nonsense that we were anticipating last January. This one was just a matter of course: a pre-emptive courtesy to get it out of the way. Because guess what: Sumlin’s still here. After all the buildup in turning last season into his penultimate make-or-break effort, getting ranked in the first week of the CFP polls and finally knocking off a couple top-15 teams at home on the front end of the season were just enough to keep him around. 2017 may be the year he has to prove himself, but it’s just as likely to be another escape.
Kevin Sumlin has now weathered three Athletic Directors, two SEC Commissioners, three Texas head coaches, two defensive coordinators and...several...co- and various sundry offensive ones. And while we as fans may love to play armchair AD and posture grandly online, the only real votes that matter are the guys that take the field with Sumlin every day.
"I couldn't be more excited to work for anybody [than Sumlin]," Chavis said. "He will probably be a Hall of Fame coach. He's a quality coach."
Sumlin has to win his division first and probably a couple championships before that kind of consideration. Chavis also said head coaching opportunities presented themselves to him in the past, but the defensive coordinator cared more about winning.
"I hope that I can finish my career right here at Texas A&M," Chavis said. "And I'm not just saying that to be nice. I say it because it's true."