Minnesota board chair mentions Kevin Sumlin regarding coaching search

Dr. Saturday
Kevin Sumlin went 8-5 at Texas A&M in 2016. (Getty)
Kevin Sumlin went 8-5 at Texas A&M in 2016. (Getty)

The chairman of the Minnesota board of regents dropped Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s name in a conversation about coaching possibilities at the school.

Dean Johnson appeared on 1500 AM ESPN in Minneapolis on Wednesday and was asked about the candidates to replace coach Tracy Claeys, who was fired Tuesday.

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Johnson said the salary for Minnesota’s new coach would probably be in the range of $2 million to $3.5 million. The figures led to a question about the likelihood former LSU coach Les Miles or former Oregon and NFL coach Chip Kelly could be candidates at the school. Johnson ended up mentioning Kelly and two other coaches in his answer.

“Well it depends upon what they want to do and how hungry they are and what opportunities they have. The market is going to determine what salary and benefits are being paid,” Johnson said in the interview, which you can listen to below. “And you know, there’s all kinds of names, you know, from Chip Kelly and Sumlin and [Western Michigan coach] P.J. Fleck. The list goes on and on.”

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While Kelly and Miles are currently jobless, Sumlin is still Texas A&M’s coach and Fleck is still at Western Michigan. It seems highly, highly unlikely that Sumlin would leave the state of Texas for Minnesota unless Texas A&M somehow makes a very late decision to find a new coach. Sumlin was the fifth-highest paid coach in the country in 2016 according to USA Today at a salary of $5 million, well out of Minnesota’s price range.

The range Johnson quoted is much more than Claeys was making. Claeys, who was promoted to the team’s coach after former coach Jerry Kill was forced to retire because of health reasons, made $1.4 million in 2016.

Fleck’s salary was just over $800,000 while Miles was scheduled to make $4.3 million at LSU in 2016.

Claeys was fired weeks after he tweeted support for his players who were threatening to boycott the Holiday Bowl after the suspensions of 10 players being investigated by the school’s Title IX office regarding an alleged sexual assault.

Criminal charges were never filed against four players who were suspended after the allegations from the night after Minnesota’s season-opening win vs. Oregon State.

A school investigation revealed abhorrent details about the incident and the players retracted the boycott two days after it began. When ending the boycott, wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky read a statement on behalf of the team and asked for fair treatment of their suspended teammates.

In a statement after Claeys’ firing Tuesday, Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle said Claeys’ tweet of support “was not helpful.” The tweet came after Coyle said Claeys told him he understood why the 10 players were being suspended for the Holiday Bowl.

Johnson told ESPN 1500 that Claeys received a $500,000 severance package and that his assistants will get a full year’s pay and benefits.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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