Blaming Scott Woodward for the Fall of Texas A&M?

COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M sent a strong message to football coach Jimbo Fisher this week: The Aggies fired their volleyball coach.

We joke, but A&M’s athletic director, Ross Bjork, is taking no small first step in cleaning up any of the leftover junk from his predecessor, Scott Woodward. That’s current LSU athletic director Scott Woodward, who left A&M in April 2019 for his alma mater in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La.

In the wild world of college sports, one theory among a handful of A&M fans—let’s hope it’s only a handful—is that Woodward purposely sabotaged their favorite athletic department with poor hiring before heading home to an SEC West rival.

The bad Aggies and division champion Tigers meet in football Saturday night at Kyle Field, and Woodward will be the man with the big grin, given his early success hiring Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly a year ago.

No. LSU, a near 10-point favorite on the road at A&M, must beat the Aggies and then Georgia in the SEC title game on Dec. 3 in Atlanta for a shot at the four-team College Football Playoff.

Just over three years ago, A&M hired Bjork of Mississippi to replace Woodward.

Bjork’s first major hire, TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle, led the Aggies to their highest ranking in program history: No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll of 2022 and to the last four of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

Incredible, given the deep pockets and deeper passion of A&M and its huge fan base, that the Aggies’ No. 3 ranking was the highest in any of the three major men’s sports – football, basketball and baseball – since the football team won the national title in 1939.

Brings us back to Woodward and his slew of failures (so far) at A&M. Five years ago, he hired Kansas assistant Laura “Bird” Kuhn to lead volleyball after the firing of Laurie Corbelli, who had turned the program into an NCAA Tournament regular for more than 25 years.

Kuhn made the NCAA postseason once every five seasons before being fired this week.

A few weeks before Kuhn, Woodward hired his old friend Fisher to manage the football team.

The two had worked together at LSU in the early 2000s, with Woodward a rising star in administration and Fisher as offensive coordinator for then-LSU coach Nick Saban. Fisher later led Florida State to a national title as head coach in 2013, and Woodward’s most notable A&M hiring was expected to do what Kelly has already done in his freshman year: win a division title.

Fisher did not, and the Aggies (4-7, 1-6 SEC) lost six straight games for the first time in 50 years this season. After the 2020 season, when A&M finished 9-1 and ranked No. 4 in the final AP poll, the Aggies under Bjork increased Fisher’s contract to the original 10 years and increased his annual salary from $7.5 million to $9 million.

Why? Because Woodward supposedly tried to hire Fisher to replace the swinging Ed Orgeron, who had led LSU to a national title in 2019 but was a handful off the field – along with the Tigers who failed on the field in 2020 with a record of 5-5 .

A&M further tying itself to a now-failing football coach, especially thanks to Woodward’s rapprochement with LSU in 2021, reinforces the farcical “sabotage” theory among angry A&M fans — including that a wizard could still pull Woodward’s strings in College Station from his perch in Baton Rouge.

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