In a press conference announcing the hiring of former Houston Cougars football coach Kevin Sumlin Monday, Texas A&M officials revealed the contract Sumlin received for making the jump from Conference USA to the SEC.
The Aggies signed Sumlin to a five-year deal worth around $2 million annually, a number which nearly doubles his salary at Houston but puts him on the lower end of the spectrum in the SEC.
Four of his competitors in the SEC West -- Alabama's Nick Saban, LSU's Les Miles, Arkansas' Bobby Petrino and Auburn's Gene Chizik -- made at least $3.5 million this season. The only coach in the conference making less than Sumlin is Kentucky's Joker Phillips, although, as a private school, Vanderbilt does not release its head coaches' salaries.
Sumlin's willingness to take relatively less money must have been a huge plus for Texas A&M in the hiring process, as the already in debt athletic department has to pay a huge relocation fee to the Big 12 as well as buyout the rest of former head coach Mike Sherman's contract.
The $2 million salary will also give the Aggies the budgetary breathing room to compete for the best defensive coordinators in the country, a must to complement an offensive-minded coach in a defense-first league.