Skip to main content

Kevin Sumlin talks about being on the hot seat: "I've always felt that way"

Kevin Sumlin

Kevin Sumlin's first season at Texas A&M could not have gone better -- and he's been paying for it ever since.

After a debut in which his Aggies stormed into the SEC on an army of clydesdales -- beating eventual national champion Alabama and dismantling Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on the back of Johnny Manziel's transcendent, Heisman Trophy-winning season, while Sumlin was named the SEC's Coach of the Year -- Texas A&M has not lived to that standard in the three seasons since.

The Aggies are 25-14 over the past three seasons. Enhanced further, A&M is 11-13 against the SEC during that span. Enhanced even further, A&M is 2-10 against SEC West gorillas Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn.

In the meantime, coordinators Jake Spavital and Mark Snyder were replaced by splashy, expensive hires Noel Mazzone (hired away from UCLA) and John Chavis (hired away from LSU) and quarterbacks Kenny Hill (to TCU), Kyle Allen (to Houston) and Kyler Murray (to Oklahoma) went from Aggie starters to high-profile transfers.

So heading into a season in which Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn are still on the schedule, plus UCLA and presumptive SEC East favorite Tennessee, Sumlin needs 2016 to play out closer to 2012 than 2015. But, no matter the outside pressure, Sumlin told Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel he'll handle his fifth Texas A&M season as his fifth consecutive season on the hot seat:

I've always felt that way. Wherever I've been a head coach and whenever you've been that guy, you know that you get paid on results. And like I said, from my standpoint it's—there are two ways to look at it. It's "What have you done for me lately?" I get that. And like I said, over the course of time, there's no doubt this program is better than it was, from every statistical deal you can have. And can we get better? Yeah.

So from an urgency standpoint, there's always been a sense of urgency. When I got here and people said, "I don't understand why you're going there, to play in the SEC West." And in that short period of time, we've created an expectation, which is a good thing, for people to say, "Hey look, here's a team that just basically was coming into the SEC and was hoping they could survive" to a team that's expected to win.

That's an expectation that has been created since we've been here, and we don't run from that. And that should never change. And to get to that expectation was not easy, but to answer those expectations isn't easy either. So from my standpoint, there's always been a sense of urgency, and that will never change.