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Regents take action on contracts for several Aggie head coaches

September 03, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

COLLEGE STATION – The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today authorized Texas A&M University Interim President Mark A. Hussey to negotiate and execute new employment contracts with three Aggie head coaches, as proposed by Director of Athletics Eric Hyman.

Additionally, head football coach Kevin Sumlin’s contract will be amended to reflect the new College Football Playoff and make minor technical revisions. Texas A&M has reached agreement on key contractual terms with men’s golf coach J.T. Higgins, women’s tennis coach Howard Joffe, and men’s basketball coach Billy Kennedy,

Entering his 14th season, J.T. Higgins led Texas A&M to the 2009 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championship – the program’s first in the sport. Higgins guided Texas A&M to back-to-back top-5 final rankings in 2009-11, an unprecedented 12 consecutive NCAA Regionals and seven straight trips to the NCAA Championships.

Higgins will receive a new five-year contract that will run through the Aug. 31, 2019.

“Coach Higgins has built Texas A&M into a national powerhouse in men’s golf,” Hyman said. “His program is a model of postseason success, and he has prepared several of our student-athletics for the professional ranks. J.T. truly exhibits our core value of selfless service through his fundraising and community outreach efforts.”

In just three seasons, Howard Joffe has transformed Texas A&M’s women’s tennis program into a national contender, advancing to finals of the 2013 NCAA Championships. Since arriving in Aggieland in 2011, Joffe’s teams have compiled a 66-17 ledger, while reaching postseason play all three years and winning the 2013 SEC Championship.

Joffe’s existing contract will be extended an additional two years, running through July 31, 2018.

“Our women’s tennis team has finished the past two seasons ranked No. 3 and No. 9 in the country, and under Coach Joffe’s leadership, we are positioning Texas A&M for future success,” Hyman said. “Howard is an excellent teacher of the game of tennis, and he does a great job of developing our student-athletes on and off the court.”

Billy Kennedy enters his fourth season at Texas A&M, coming off an 18-16 campaign in 2013-14 in which the Aggies participated in the College Basketball Invitational tournament. Over his last 10 years as a head coach, Kennedy’s teams have averaged more than 20 wins per season, earned four conference titles and made four trips to the postseason -- two to the NCAA Tournament and one in the NIT.

Kennedy’s contract will be extended two years past its current term, running through the 2018 season. Financial terms of the contract will remain unchanged.

“Coach Kennedy understands our commitment to building champions both in the classroom and in competition,” Hyman said. “Our basketball program has made tremendous strides academically under Billy’s leadership, while he has also raised the overall on-court talent level of our student-athletes. Our ultimate goal is to build the Texas A&M basketball program the right way, with a foundation for sustained postseason success.”

Women’s swimming coach Steve Bultman will also receive a new contract through June 30, 2016, which is not subject to Board of Regents action. He will have an opportunity for two additional one-year extensions.

In Bultman’s 15 seasons, the Aggies have never finished lower than second at a conference meet and own an eight-year streak of top 10 finishes at the NCAA Championships. Last season, Texas A&M matched its highest national finish ever with a fourth-place performance at the NCAA meet.

“Coach Bultman is widely respected in the women’s swimming community not only in our conference and across the United States, but worldwide,” Hyman said. “What he has built here at Texas A&M is simply off-the-charts, and we are glad that Steve will be here in Aggieland for many more years.”

Remaining contractual details are still under review, with the contracts expected to be executed in the very near future. Specific terms will not be disclosed until the contracts are executed.

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