Texas A&M and head football coach Kevin Sumlin have reached an agreement in principle on a six-year contract extension.
Senior associate athletics director Jason Cook passed along the news on the same day the Aggies will face the Missouri Tigers in one of the SEC's key games this week:
Eric Hyman, the director of athletics at Texas A&M, called Sumlin one of the "nation's elite football coaches" in a release from the school confirming the new deal:
Coach Sumlin has demonstrated why he is considered among the nation’s elite football coaches. His coaching and recruiting abilities are only secondary to his integrity, class and passion for his student-athletes and this University. Texas A&M is making a sincere commitment to Kevin. We are fortunate that he is committed to remain an Aggie for a long time to come, and we are excited about what the future has in store.
Sumlin said he was humbled by the commitment and stated that the focus remains on building a program capable of long-term success:
I am humbled and very appreciative of the commitment that Texas A&M has extended not only to me and my family, but to our football program overall. We have only just begun to lay the foundation for sustained, long-term success here at Texas A&M, and we will work hard every day to make this great institution and the 12th Man proud.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen followed on Sunday, Dec. 1:
Kevin Sumlin's new deal w A&M takes him off NFL market until completion of $450 million renovation of Kyle Field in 2015, per sources— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) December 1, 2013
The release notes that the contract won't become official until it's approved by the university's board of regents at a future meeting. However, there haven't been any concerns raised about its passage.
Although Sumlin is only in his second season with the Aggies, the 49-year-old Alabama native has quickly become one of the fastest-rising coaches in the country. His instant success, including a 19-5 overall record and a Cotton Bowl triumph last season, allowed him to gain nationwide acclaim.
It wasn't only people at the collegiate level noticing his success, either. Travis Haney of ESPN reports that Texas A&M was growing more concerned about the NFL's Houston Texans making a serious run at Sumlin than he was about a team like USC trying to hire him:
Locking Sumlin up should do wonders for the Texas A&M program, but that's a conversation for another day as far as the current team is concerned. The No. 21 Aggies have a chance to score a marquee win over No. 5 Missouri in their regular-season finale Saturday night.
A victory would be the perfect way for Sumlin to wrap up an already memorable day.