If Texas A&M decides to cut ties with head football coach Jimbo Fisher, it will owe him a hefty buyout — one it will be paying for the better part of the next decade.
Under Jimbo Fisher, the Texas A&M football program has been good. And that’s precisely the problem.
The Aggies didn’t bring in the guy who won a national championship at Florida State to just be good. A&M expects to be great — to contend for the College Football Playoff and live at the top of the SEC standings alongside Alabama.
Instead, A&M has gone 36-18 under Fisher, appearing in a major bowl game and losing fewer than one conference game just once each. The Aggies entered this season with a ton of hype and a No. 6 ranking in the preseason AP Poll. But a week after A&M’s ho-hum win over Sam Houston State, Appalachian State came into College Station and walked out with a win (plus a check for $1,500,000 for their troubles).
Now, all eyes are on the head coach and whether he will still have that title a year from now. Or even a month from now. A win over No. 13 Miami last week did little to change that, and as the Aggies get set to host No. 10 Arkansas in College Station on Saturday, the stakes couldn’t feel higher.
Let’s dive into the details of the Jimbo Fisher salary, buyout, and overall contract details on the books at Texas A&M.
Jimbo Fisher Contract Overview at Texas A&M
Signed: Dec. 2017
Extended: Sept. 2021
Term: Through 2031 season
Base Salary: $500,000 per year
Jimbo Fisher’s Supplemental Salary by Year:
- 2022: $8,500,000
- 2023: $8,650,000
- 2024: $8,750,000
- 2025: $8,850,000
- 2026: $8,950,000
- 2027: $9,050,000
- 2028: $9,150,000
- 2029: $9,250,000
- 2030: $9,350,000
- 2031: $9,450,000
Texas A&M has invested a lot of money in its head football coach. All told, when you add his base and supplemental salaries, Fisher will earn $94,950,000 from 2022 to 2031, and that’s not including what he earned in his first five years at the helm. That’s also not counting performance incentives and additional perks, which could bring his earnings well over $100,000,000.
But you can rest easy, A&M fans.
In case you forgot, the Aggies play in the SEC, and that conference is about to enter a $3 billion media rights deal with ESPN — an agreement that was signed before Texas and Oklahoma announced their intentions to join the league. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say any SEC team can pay any football coach whatever he desires.
And Fisher’s going to get his money… it’s just a question of whether he’s still going to be coaching Aggies games when he gets it.
Jimbo Fisher Buyout Details
Fisher and his team didn’t pick some arbitrary number that the school would agree to pay him if they fired him by some arbitrary date as we see with many other coaching contracts. Rather, if Texas A&M decides to fire Fisher without cause, the university owes him every penny remaining on the contract. Every last one. And Fisher can have it paid out to him from the date of his firing until 2031 when the contract would have expired.
An impressive 25% of that total would go to the coach within 60 days of dismissal. The rest, starting 120 days after that date, would be in annual installments through 2031.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say Fisher is fired on Dec. 31 of this year. That means he will have $85,950,000 remaining on his contract. By February, he could expect to receive a lump sum of $21,487,500. Then, over the next nine years, an annual payment of $7,162,500, beginning sometime around July 2023.
Not a bad paycheck simply not to coach.
Fisher has a number of performance bonuses built into his contract, and as someone who has experienced some success in College Station, he’s made a few bucks off of them already.
Here’s what he’s eligible for:
- $100,000 for appearing in the SEC championship game OR $200,000 for winning it
- $100,000 for appearing in a non-New Year’s 6 bowl game
- $200,000 for appearing in a non-College Football Playoff New Year’s 6 bowl game
- $300,000 for appearing in the College Football Playoff OR $500,000 for appearing in the national championship game OR $1,000,000 for winning the national championship.
- $50,000 for winning SEC Coach of the Year
- $100,000 for winning National Coach of the Year
So far, Fisher has reached four bowl games, with the 2020 Orange Bowl counting as a New Year’s 6 bowl. He has yet to bring the Aggies to the SEC title game or win a conference or national coach of the year award. All told, that gives Fisher $500,000 in performance bonuses over his tenure to date.
Fisher is also eligible for a $150,000 bonus in years that the team’s APR is 965 or higher. If that number falls below 930, Fisher is automatically ineligible for any bonuses that season. According to the NCAA’s APR database, Fisher earned that bonus in 2018-19 and fell short in 2020-21. Additional APR data is not publicly available.
Special Allowances & Perks
In addition to Fisher’s salary and bonuses, he has access to the following perks:
- 12-16 complimentary season tickets to football games in sections 104-108 at Kyle Field (that’s the lower bowl, between the two 20-yard lines)
- Four men’s basketball season tickets
- Use of the head coach’s box for home football games
- Use of a private aircraft up to the cost of $300,000 per year
- Two luxury vehicles available through Texas A&M athletics’ “car program”
- Complimentary country club membership
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