MY TAKE FOLLOWS THE STATEMENT RELEASED BY A&M TODAY ABOUT AD ERIC HYMAN BEING PUSHED OUT:
College Station, Jan. 5, 2016 (tamu.edu) – Texas A&M has announced that Eric Hyman , athletic director since 2012, will be leaving his position at the university. Hyman was formerly the athletic director at VMI, Miami University (OH), TCU and the University of South Carolina as well as the President of the IA Athletic Directors Association. Hyman was hired to help Texas A&M's transition into the SEC.
"I want to thank Eric for the service he has provided Texas A&M during his time as athletic director," said President Michael K. Young. "He has shown a high level of integrity and professionalism in his role as AD and improved both our student-athlete academic and athletic performance through facility improvements, nutritional enhancement through the RC Slocum Nutritional center and preparation for life after college through upgrading the Life Skills program. His relationships and insights within the Southeastern Conference have been extraordinarily helpful to Texas A&M Athletics along with his five-year strategic plan. I fully expect Eric to make a positive impact in whatever endeavor he pursues next."
Hyman's leadership and focus on academics for student-athlete wellbeing on and off the field has resulted in an increase in the overall GPA and APR as well as effectively integrating the program into the SEC, the nation's most competitive conference. In addition to competing at the highest level, his goal has been to prepare Texas A&M student –athletes academically to become leaders off the playing field.
"I appreciate my time here at Texas A&M University and I am proud of our student-athletes' achievements both on the field and in the classroom," said Eric Hyman . "The best part of an AD's job is forming wonderful relationships with student-athletes, colleagues, former students and Texas A&M has been no exception. I will always value my time here and the friendships I have made with Aggies. I wish Texas A&M University nothing but continued success."
President Young will be directly involved in the hiring of a new athletic director and updates about the position will be shortly forthcoming. Hyman will continue in his role as athletic director until a new AD is hired.
As I reported more than two weeks ago in HD Only, the same week I reported that A&M chancellor John Sharp was looking into the possibility of terminating Kevin Sumlin's contract, I wrote that A&M athletic director Eric Hyman could be on Sharp's hit list, too, if he didn't share Sharp's views.
The bottom line is, I'm told, Sharp is very concerned about paying off the $400 million renovation of Kyle Field, which he calls "The House That Johnny Built" - as in Johnny Sharp. I'm told the renovation went over by $75 million and that millions borrowed by athletics from the university's general fund need to be paid back by athletics in short order.
And Sharp is concerned money could dry up from boosters if football isn't continuing to be a source of excitement and pride for the big money at A&M. I'm told that's a big concern of Sharp with Sumlin running the show in football.
But with Trevor Knight announcing he'll transfer to A&M and Jake Spavital being removed as OC (something Sharp wanted and Sumlin didn't), the urgency appears to be lacking to dump Sumlin, who is averaging 9 wins per year in four years, is recruiting well and has a $20 million buyout.
I'm told Sharp was exploring the idea of firing Sumlin for cause but that Sumlin's attorneys indicated a wrongful termination and possibly even discrimination lawsuit could be filed in return by Sumlin.
I was told the names atop Sharp and Co.' s wish list would be Houston's Tom Herman and North Carolina's Larry Fedora. And I'm trying to find out where Sharp stands on Chip Kelly? I'm told Herman would rather stay at Houston (and probably see what happens over the next year at Texas) than take the A&M job. But, of course, things could change if there are more developments.
Anyway, Hyman stepping down is a sign that the Sharp takeover at A&M continues. I was told if Hyman wasn't on board with Sharp's line of thinking, Hyman would be gone.
Hyman is gone. And my sources at A&M - when I asked them if A&M president Michael Young shares Hyman's belief that Sumlin will be the coach at A&M in 2016? - told me they don't know what to think right now.
This appears to be very fluid. I'll keep you posted.