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Texas A&M Fires Football Coach Kevin Sumlin: Your Texas Roundup

Plus: A woman is indicted for allegedly sending an explosive package to Governor Greg Abbott, a Border Patrol agent is buried in El Paso after he was killed on duty, and Houston’s J.J. Watt and Trae Tha Truth feuded on social media.

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“There’s usually one or two that reflect total Darwinian stupidity. And there’s always someone trying to avoid following the rules.”

Steve Lightfoot, manager of the press office at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, to the San Antonio Express-News on Saturday. Lightfoot puts together the department’s famous Game Warden Field Notes, a roundup of arrests and encounters filed by the wardens. The notes often include at least a few oddities. In this month’s roundup, for example, wardens arrested a man in East Texas for hunting naked.


Head coach Kevin Sumlin of the Texas A&M Aggies walks on the field prior to a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Aggie Dumped
Texas A&M fired football coach Kevin Sumlin on Sunday. The move is no surprise, as Sumlin was sitting on one of the hottest seats in college football this year after shepherding the Aggies through recent pretty-good-but-not-great seasons, including a 7-5 record this year. Sumlin was fired less than 24 hours after LSU beat the Aggies 45-21 on Saturday. In his six years at the helm in Aggieland, Sumlin did pretty well, finishing with 51 wins and just 26 losses—the second-best winning percentage for an A&M coach since 1950. There were some really good times under Sumlin, but they happened too early in his tenure. In his first season in 2012, he gave quarterback Johnny Manziel the reins and watched him win a Heisman trophy. The Aggies finished 11-2 that year, winning the Cotton Bowl, but that promising beginning probably set the bar too high. The Aggies finished 9-4 the next year and never won more than eight games in a season after that. “Kevin’s tenure included some remarkable achievements and he leaves our program as one of the winningest football coaches in our storied history,” Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement, according to ESPN. “Kevin made us a better all-around football program and led our program with dignity and character. He’s a first-class person. Our expectations at A&M are very high. We believe that we should compete for SEC championships on an annual basis and, at times, national championships. I believe that we need a new coach to take us there. On behalf of Aggies everywhere, my thanks to Kevin and his family for his service to Texas A&M. I wish him the very best.” It’s a costly decision to let Sumlin go, as Texas A&M will pay Sumlin a $10.4 million buyout under the terms of his contract. A&M reportedly now has its eye on Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher as a potential replacement.


Bomb Squad
A woman was indicted in federal court last week after allegedly sending explosive packages to Governor Greg Abbott and former President Barack Obama last year, according to the New York Times. The bizarre details of the allegations were revealed last week: Julia Poff, of Brookshire, allegedly shipped the explosive packages, which included a cigarette box with a Texas tobacco stamp, a salad dressing cap from a brand she was known to have bought for an anniversary dinner, and hair from her pet cat. According to the indictment, Abbott actually opened the package he received from Poff, but, luckily, it did not explode, because, according to court documents, “he did not open it as designed.” Poff was allegedly upset at Abbott, who was attorney general at the time, because “she had not received support from her ex-husband.” She faces six counts, including mailing injurious articles and transporting explosives with the intent to kill and injure.

Saying Goodbye
The funeral for Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez was held in El Paso on Saturday, according to the El Paso Times. Martinez and his partner were patrolling near the Van Horn Station about 120 miles east of El Paso last week, when they responded to unspecified activity and were injured. Both agents were taken to a hospital, and Martinez, a 36-year-old who lived in El Paso, died from his injuries. “It’s sad to lay down one of our own to rest,” Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero said in a statement, according to the Times. “It’s sad to see that he made the ultimate sacrifice. But it honors me, and it honors every single law enforcement agent that he was willing to do that—to protect our nation, to protect our borders, and to protect those who serve.” It’s still unclear exactly what happened when Martinez and his partner were injured. The FBI is investigating whether the agents were ambushed or attacked, or if they accidentally fell.

H-Town Beef
Two of Houston’s biggest personalities feuded on social media last week, according to the Houston Chronicle. It all started when popular Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth called out injured Texans defensive end J.J. Watt for not adequately distributing aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey after raising $37 million. “We Waited To Simply See If You Cared About Touchin The People For Real,” Trae The Truth wrote on Instagram. “We Waited On One Simple Call That Take Less Than A Min.” On Saturday, Trae Tha Truth told the Chronicle that he had tried to reach out to Watt to talk about how best to help Harvey victims, but he apparently was rebuffed. Watt clapped right back. “It is very clear that you speak loudly about that which you do not know,” he wrote in the comments section of the Instagram post. “I have laid out my plan very clearly every step of the way and kept everyone informed. … As badly as I wish I could help every single person affected, it is simply not physically possible.” Watt said his injured leg had caused delays. Both men eventually deleted their Instagram posts.


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Texas’s dams are unprepared for major floods Austin American-Statesman

Day laborers are being taken advantage of while cleaning up after Harvey
Associated Press

A Texas State Trooper was shot and killed in Freestone County on Thanksgiving KXAS

Even more evidence links fracking to Texas earthquakes Washington Post

Dolphins in Galveston Bay have a hard time recovering after Harvey Houston Chronicle

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  • Jed

    wow, lifelong (recovering) aggie football fan, sumlin was probably the most successful in my lifetime (no contest if you don’t count the cheaters). more successful than bear bryant.

    but sure, fire him over a bunch of 8 win seasons, even if it costs $10M, and even if most of his predecessors got by with worse results.

    i’m sure many fans will be pleased. and i’m sure sumlin and charlie strong can commiserate over how this is definitely not about race.

    • Aggie administration won’t hire smart, on-the-rise young coaches from out of state mid-majors. Utah gambled on Urban Meyer with great results. A&M should look at the North Dakota State coach. Instead they will throw huge amounts of cash at somebody like Jimbo Fisher.

      • Jed

        who lost more games than sumlin did this season.

  • anonyfool

    That stateman article seems like fearmongering about the dams because I thought the problem was that the ones closer to the coast were more in danger of stalling storms like Harvey in the future versus ones towards central Texas and farther inland where weather patterns that cause the storms to stall over the coast mean there’s not so much precipitation left by the time they wander inland.

  • anonyfool

    I’m surprised I read about this on BBC first, the turn of the century Houston race riot. Maybe Texas monthly should try a local angle on this.
    We never covered this in all my years of schooling in Texas, probably cause it’s pretty shameful part of history that can’t be glossed over as easily as “everybody in the South was in favor of slavery” and “states rights” ala the southern states’ civil war apologists.

  • Roger Head

    TA&M needs to remember that they no longer compete against Texas. Can only imagine what the buyout will be for Fisher iffen/when he tanks as coach.