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Lou Holtz lauds his ‘hero’ Jimbo Fisher after Texas A&M dismissal, believes Aggies can win under new coach

Jimbo Fisher won a national championship during his time coaching the Florida State Seminoles. Six years ago, he was named Texas A&M football’s head coach.

Fisher moved to College Station, Texas, with the expectation he would one day build the program into a championship contender. 

Through just under six seasons, Fisher failed to replicate the success he had in Talhassee. The lack of success prompted school officials to fire Fisher despite having to pay him an estimated $75 million, the amount remaining on his 10-year contract.

“That’s the hard part in all of this,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said. “How many sitting head coaches won national championships? So, everyone had tons of optimism. 

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“But it just goes back to the last couple of years. Do we have momentum? Do we have hope? How do we see things trending? And we just didn’t see the trend lines improving.”

Fisher’s firing has been widely discussed in recent days. On Monday, former longtime college football coach Lou Holtz joined Dan Dakich on OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me” show to weigh in on Fisher’s departure.

Holtz expressed confidence in the Aggies’ future.

“There is nothing at A&M that keeps them from competing for the national championship. They have a beautiful stadium, a great facility and an awful lot of money. They also have a tremendous student body,” Holtz said.

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The former Notre Dame coach also applauded Fisher for landing an unprecedented contract payout. Holtz described Fisher as his “hero.”

“But the $77 million, that’s an awful lot of money. I’ve got Jimbo Fisher’s picture above my bed. He’s my hero. He loses and gets $77 million to walk away. I never got a cent from any of the six schools where I coached when I left there. So, he is my hero. That’s great work.”

The Aggies were 6-4 through 10 games with Fisher this season. A couple of weeks ago, Texas A&M dominated Mississippi State, After the game, Fisher was asked if he was frustrated with how the season was playing out. 

“It’s not frustrating, but it’s disappointing at times,” Fisher said. “Like I’ve said, we’re three or four plays from playing in a playoff spot. But we’ve got to put that past us and grow from it and learn from it for next year.”

Bjork said there was no last straw that prompted Fisher’s firing.

“You’re either moving forward or you’re stuck. We were stuck … something was not working to reach our full potential,” Bjork said.

This week, Mike Elko, who spent four years as defensive coordinator with the Aggies before taking his first head coaching job at Duke, agreed to replace his former boss Fisher in College Station, according to multiple reports.

Holtz spoke about his familiarity with Elko and the coach’s ability to lead a defense.

“The coach they hired, Mike Elko, from Duke … he was a defensive coordinator from Notre Dame, and then he was hired by Jimbo Fisher. … And they had pretty good success when he was the defensive coordinator. After he left … they haven’t been the same on defense.”

Elko answered questions about why he thinks he believes he can lead the Aggies to their first title in nearly a century.

“When you look at what this program is capable of, what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to fulfill that potential,” Elko said. 

“That happens with work, and I think that was the message I sent to the players, that was the message I tried to deliver to the crowd. We can’t just say we want to be something. We can’t just say we want to arrive somewhere. We’ve got to be committed to all the work that it’s going to take from today until we kick off next September, and there’s a lot that goes into that.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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