As was reported yesterday, Scott Woodward is officially the new athletics director at LSU.
To a neutral observer, Texas A&M is probably a better AD job than LSU. The Aggies are flush with cash, their Olympic sports are winning as much as anyone in the country, and they have major-sport hires in place in Jimbo Fisher and Buzz Williams. All the oars in the maroon boat are paddling in the same direction right now -- and they're all made of gold.
But Woodward is not a neutral observer. He's a Baton Rouge native, an LSU grad and a former LSU associate AD. In fact, it was his connection with Jimbo Fisher back in the pair's LSU days that convinced Jimbo to leave Florida State for Texas A&M in the first place.
To quote Bear Bryant, Mama called, and Woodward answered.
“Returning home to the LSU family to lead the department of athletics is incredibly humbling and exciting,” Woodward said. “The state university has been a part of my life for more than five decades, and I know – and I embrace – the high expectations of Tiger Nation. We will win championships and we will do it the right way, representing LSU with pride and dignity every step of the way. I want to thank President Alexander for the opportunity of a lifetime and I cannot wait to get started. Geaux Tigers!”
With Woodward officially gone, the Texas A&M search will be a fascinating one to follow. As mentioned above, this is as much of a turn-key operation as you can find in major college sports -- the Olympic sports are winning, and Fisher and Williams are new or brand-new to their jobs, and the department is fantastically rich. A&M made $212 million during the 2017 fiscal year (the most recent on record), trailing only Texas for the most in college athletics. When cast against $147 million in expenses, A&M's $65 million profit was easily the highest in the nation.
If and when Aggie football and basketball win big, the new AD benefits from their success. If and when they don't, well, you didn't hire them.
When the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012, the goal was to build a genuine rivalry with their neighbors to the east. That's a bit of an oxymoron, though; you can't build a rivalry like you can't give yourself a nickname -- it has to happen on its own. Thanks to the Aggies' seven-overtime win last November, its hiring of former LSU staffers Fisher, Austin Thomas and Dameyune Craig, and now LSU's swipe of A&M's AD, it seems like the Aggies and Tigers are on their way to fostering an honest grudge against one another.
And while we're at it, let's a lit match on this fire.
Jimbo Fisher's buyout if, hypothetically speaking, he wanted to leave A&M and join his friend Scott in Baton Rouge? Not one dollar.