Texas A&M lost its athletics director Scott Woodward to SEC West bunk mate LSU last month, and now it appears the Aggies have paid it forward.
According to a report Thursday from Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News, Texas A&M will hire Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork to the same post in College Station. The news is expected to become official on Friday morning.
Per sources, Ross Bjork contract with A&M was finalized within the past hour.
— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) May 24, 2019
Update: The school has announced the hire.
— Texas A&M University (@TAMU) May 24, 2019
“I am so honored to accept this position and look forward to greeting coaches, staff and the entire 12th Man,” said Bjork. “I remember visits to Kyle Field even before its massive renovation, being enthralled with the whole environment. I love leadership lessons, especially in military history; The Corps of Cadets – the “Keepers of the Spirit” – are also a wonderful draw to the university. I will always aspire to live up to the core values that the university holds dear, and to compete for and win championships.”
Bjork fits the mold of the type AD schools value in 2019: young, clean cut professionals who climbed the ranks selling sponsorships and donations, not on the practice field. Bjork has run Ole Miss’ athletics department since 2012, when at 39 he was the youngest Power 5 AD in the country. That was after he’d already served as Western Kentucky’s AD for two years.
Despite his young age (he’s still only 46), Bjork comes to A&M battle tested, having survived the fire that was the Hugh Freeze era of Rebel football. Freeze led Ole Miss to back-to-back wins over Alabama and the program’s first Sugar Bowl win since 1969, but also saw the Rebels put on probation for recruiting violations and ended when Freeze abruptly resigned for texting escorts on a university-issued phone.
At Texas A&M, Bjork will handle a different type of challenge. He’ll be in charge of the most profitable athletics department in the country in the midst of the most cutthroat conference in college sports, leading a department as desperate for major success as the lungs are for oxygen. Bjork will be expected to provide any and all things necessary to assist Jimbo Fisher in conquering Alabama, Georgia and LSU for SEC supremacy.
Back in Oxford, Bjork’s departure does not seem to be great news for Matt Luke’s job security. Luke led the Rebels on an interim basis in 2017 and then was given the full-time job heading after that season, days before Ole Miss learned of its Freeze-era sanctions. A new AD could want to install his own man to lead the program.
SEC spring meetings commence Monday in Destin and, based on what we already know about the league’s incestuous hiring habits, the next Ole Miss AD may already be sitting in the SEC’s athletics director meetings.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.