The Arizona football program has reached an agreement with former Texas A&M Head Coach Kevin Sumlin on a five-year, $14.5 million deal, effectively ending any chance of Neal Brown leaving his head coaching position at Troy to take that job.
Last week, 247sports.com and numerous other sources reported that Brown had interviewed for the head coaching position, but was not interested in the job despite being the leading candidate. Despite multiple earlier reports that Sumlin had been hired, the university released a statement on Sunday that the three-time national coach of the year finalist would be taking over.
Back in Troy, regardless of the uncertainty around his possible departure, Brown and his staff took advantage of the NCAA’s first-ever early recruiting period that took place on Dec. 20, 2017. Brown was quoted in an interview with the Dothan Eagle saying he approved of the new early recruiting period because “it was something that was needed.”
Fourteen recruits signed with the Trojans on this unprecedented day for college football, which seemed to show Brown was still committed to coaching the Trojans.
Despite national chaos surrounding a number of bigger schools scrambling for new coaches, the news of Arizona interviewing Brown came at a time where no particular school had actively pursued him.
However, it seems as if the likelihood of more Power Five schools considering him has gone up following two straight successful seasons for Troy.
When the Arizona Interview report surfaced less than a month later on Jan. 8, Trojan fans were given a reason to feel uneasy. Troy continued its offseason hiring process days before the interview.
All fears were put to rest Tuesday when UA held an official press conference that introduced Sumlin and his contract details.
The team-friendly deal will pay Sumlin $2 million in each of the first two years of the deal. After the second year, the base pay will increase to $3.5 million for the remainder of the contract, according to 247sports.com.
Sumlin did receive a $10 million buyout from Texas A&M when he lost his job there, according to ESPN. Sumlin is 86-43 as a head coach as he enters his third head coaching position in his FBS career.
Brown, 36, has coached the Trojans to a 25-13 record since he was hired in the fall of 2015.
The sixth youngest coach in the FBS led the Trojans to 10 wins in 2016 after only four in 2015. This was tied for the best turnaround in the nation and concluded with the first bowl win for the program since 2010.
The historic season was followed up by an even better season in 2017. The Trojans finished with an 11-2 record and their second bowl win in a row, including a regular-season non-conference win over LSU.