Three-time national coach of the year finalist Kevin Sumlin was named head football coach at Texas A&M on Dec. 10, 2011, and led the Aggies into their first season in the Southeastern Conference in 2012.
In his first year as the Aggies’ head coach, Sumlin led A&M to its first 11-win season since 1998 and shook up the SEC with his effective high-tempo offense. The Aggies went 6-2 in conference play, defeating No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and going undefeated on the road. Sumlin’s last road loss was in 2010 when his University of Houston team fell to Texas Tech.
A successful first season in Aggieland saw Sumlin garner his third spot as a national coach of the year finalist and coach the first-ever freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in quarterback Johnny Manziel. Sumlin also coached three other first-team All-Americans in his first season back in Aggieland in offensive tackles Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews and defensive end Damontre Moore.
The 2012 Aggies lost by a total of just eight points in two games, against No. 24 Florida in the season opener and No. 6 LSU. They became the fourth Texas A&M team to win 11 games in a season with a 41-13 win over Big 12 Co-Champion Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Sumlin came to Texas A&M after a successful stint as head coach at the University of Houston, where he led the Cougars to a school-record 12 victories and the program’s highest finish in the Bowl Championship Series standings in 2011. Sumlin was named the Region 5 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association in 2011 and was one of five finalists for the AFCA’s National Coach of the Year award.
During his time at UH, Sumlin posted a 35-17 overall record and led the Cougars to three bowl games. Sumlin led the Cougars to berths in the 2011 Ticket Center Bowl and the 2008 and 2009 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls.
His final season in Houston was one of the finest in the history of the Cougar football program. Sumlin’s Cougars raced through the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record before falling in the Conference-USA Championship to Southern Miss. The Cougars led the nation in passing, total and scoring offense and featured the nation’s leader in passing and total offense, quarterback Case Keenum. UH set NCAA FBS team records for total offense and passing yards.
His lone UH squad to not reach a bowl game was in 2010. The Cougars entered the season with high expectations but injuries to their top two quarterbacks, including Keenum, contributed to a 5-7 campaign.
In 2009, Sumlin was a finalist for the Paul “Bear” Bryant National Coach of the Year Award after leading the Cougars to a 10-4 record, which included wins over No. 5-ranked Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., and BCS conference teams Texas Tech and Mississippi State. Statistically, the University of Houston led the nation in passing offense (433.7), total offense (563.4) and scoring offense (42.2). Houston also became just the third team in NCAA history to post a 5,000-yard passer and three 1,000-yard receivers in one season, and the 1,000-yard receiving trio marked just the fourth time the feat had been accomplished in NCAA history.
Taking over the reins of the UH program in December 2007, Sumlin guided the Cougars to an 8-5 record in 2008 and became the first UH coach in 28 years to lead his team to a bowl victory, as Houston topped Air Force 34-28 in the Armed Forces Bowl. When hired at UH, he became the first African-American head football coach at a NCAA Division I school in the state of Texas. He was one of only 10 first-year Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to guide his team to a bowl game and one of only six to win the bowl contest.
Sumlin went to Houston after seven seasons as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator in the Big 12 Conference. Sumlin spent five seasons at the University of Oklahoma under head coach Bob Stoops, where he served as both the co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach (2006-07) and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach (2003-05).
Before his arrival in Norman, Sumlin spent two seasons at Texas A&M under head coach R.C. Slocum, where he served as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for the Aggies (2001-2002).
During his previous stint in Aggieland, Sumlin coached several of the top receivers in school history, including Bethel Johnson, Terrence Murphy and Jamaar Taylor who still rank in the top 10 in career catches and receiving yards.
Early in the 2002 season, Slocum promoted Sumlin to offensive play-caller after the Aggie offense struggled in the first three games of the season. With Sumlin calling the plays, the Aggie offense flourished, averaging 33.0 points and 419 yards per game for the remainder of the season after posting just 16.0 points and 286 yards per game previously. A highlight of the season including a 30-26 win over top-ranked Oklahoma with the Aggies gaining 404 total yards to key the victory.
His coaching career has seen stops at his alma mater, Purdue (1998-2001), Minnesota (1993-97) and Wyoming (1991-92).
Purdue’s 1998 receivers set school records with 377 receptions for 4,208 yards and 43 touchdowns. The Boilermakers’ Chris Daniels set a Big Ten record with 121 catches and recorded another Big Ten record with 21 receptions in one game.
In addition to Stoops and Slocum, Sumlin served as an assistant coach under Joe Tiller at Purdue and Wyoming, Jim Wacker at Minnesota, Glen Mason at Minnesota and Mike Price at Washington State.
Sumlin has coached in 13 bowl games, including all four BCS games. In addition to his two bowl games at UH, Sumlin has participated in the 2008 Fiesta, 2007 Fiesta, 2005 Holiday, 2005 Orange, 2004 Sugar at Oklahoma, the 2002 GalleryFurniture.com at A&M, and the 2002 Rose, 2000 Outback, 1998 Alamo at Purdue.
A four-year letterman as a linebacker at Purdue from 1983-86 , Sumlin finished his career as one of the top tacklers in Boilermaker history. He was named to Sports Illustrated’s All-America walk-on list as a freshman after leading Purdue with 91 tackles.
He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a senior while ranking fifth in the league with 114 tackles, and helped lead Purdue to the Peach Bowl.
The Indianapolis native graduated from Purdue in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in both criminology and criminal justice. Sumlin and his wife Charlene have four children: daughters Courtney and Shelby, and sons Jackson and Joey.
THE SUMLIN FILE
Born: Aug. 3, 1964
Hometown: Indianapolis, Ind.
Children: daughters Courtney and Shelby; sons Jackson and Joey
High School: Brebeuf Jesuit Prep
College: Purdue: Bachelor's degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice, 1988
1983-86: Purdue, Honorable-mention All-Big Ten linebacker
2011- : Texas A&M, Head Coach
2008-11: Houston, Head Coach
2006-07: Oklahoma, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2003-05: Oklahoma, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
2002: Texas A&M, Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
2001: Texas A&M, Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers
1998-00: Purdue, Assistant Coach/Wide Receivers
1997: Minnesota, Assistant Coach/Quarterbacks
1993-96: Minnesota, Assistant Coach/Wide Receivers
1991-92: Wyoming, Assistant Coach/Wide Receivers
1989-90: Washington State, Graduate Assistant Coach
Bowl Games (coach)
2013: Cotton Bowl (Texas A&M)
2011: Ticket Center Bowl (Houston)
2009: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Houston)
2008: Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Houston)
2008: Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma)
2007: Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma)
2005: Holiday Bowl (Oklahoma)
2005: Orange Bowl (Oklahoma)
2004: Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma)
2002: GalleryFurniture.com Bowl (Texas A&M)
2002: Rose Bowl (Purdue)
2000: Outback Bowl (Purdue)
1998: Alamo Bowl (Purdue)
Bowl Games (player)
1984: Peach Bowl (Purdue)