Texas A&M Gives $75 Million Contract to New Football Coach Jimbo Fisher: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Ted Cruz is officially running for re-election, taxpayers paid $84,000 to settle sexual harassment allegations against U.S. Representative Blake Fahrenthold, and it’s bowl season for college football teams in Texas.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I wanna take a nap.”
—Two-year-old Linden Mae Bartell, of Trinity, to Santa. The toddler made a request we can all relate to while she was sitting on Santa’s lap at Bering’s Hardware in southwest Houston, according to KTRK.
Million Dollar Man
Texas A&M hired Jimbo Fisher as its new head football coach on Friday. The Aggies managed to lure Fisher away from Florida State—where Fisher had gone 82-23 in five seasons and won a national title in 2013—by giving him an offer he couldn’t refuse: $75 million. The ten-year deal makes Fisher the highest paid coach in college football in terms of total value, according to the Houston Chronicle, and the second-highest paid coach by average salary behind Alabama’s Nick Saban. A&M also shelled out $10.4 million to buy out the remaining two years on head coach Kevin Sumlin’s contract. With such a substantial investment, A&M clearly thinks Fisher is the right guy to lead the program to its first national title since 1939. A&M even rolled out an actual red (or perhaps maroon?) carpet for Fisher’s $75 million feet when he landed in College Station on Sunday, where a marching band played as he descended from the jet. Fisher fell off a bit at Florida State this season, finishing with a disappointing 5-6 record as the program lost some of its top recruits for 2018, and players threatened to boycott if he stuck around as head coach. That’s certainly not a good sign, and perhaps it explains why A&M was able to pry him from Tallahassee—Fisher is the first coach to leave a school where he won a national title for another program since 1976, according to the Chronicle. Still, after a string of mediocre seasons under Sumlin, it’s probably a welcome change for Aggie fans, and the new man will face a ton of pressure to perform. “Our expectations at A&M are very high,” Aggies athletic director Scott Woodward told the Chronicle.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Senator Ted Cruz is officially running for reelection. Cruz signed the filing paperwork at the Harris County GOP headquarters in Houston on Saturday, according to the Texas Tribune. The former presidential candidate is seeking a second term in 2018, and while he faces a challenge from U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from El Paso, he’s still expected to be the favorite by a significant margin. As the Tribune notes, O’Rourke and a handful of smaller-name Senate candidates have portrayed Cruz as “an absentee senator who turned his attention away from Texas” during his presidential run in 2016. Cruz addressed that criticism on Saturday. “Well, it is hardly news that political opponents are launching attacks,” he told the Tribune after filing. “I think that is a predictable part of the democratic process. I believe the people of Texas are going to hold every elected official accountable. Did you do what you said you would do?”
Politico reported on Friday that U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold, a Republican from Corpus Christi, used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim against him made by a former staffer. Farenthold’s former communications director, Lauren Greene, sued in December 2014, alleging that another Farenthold aide told her the representative said he had “sexual fantasies” and “wet dreams” about her, that Farenthold “regularly drank to excess” and told her that he was “estranged from his wife and had not had sex with her in years,” according to the complaint. “Because of his tendency to flirt, the staffers who accompanied him to Capitol Hill functions would joke that they had to be on ‘red head patrol to keep him out of trouble,’” the complaint also read. The complaint alleged that Farenthold’s top aide once complained that Greene’s shirt “was transparent and showed [Greene’s] nipples,” and that “Farenthold told [another woman staffer] that [Greene] could show her nipples whenever she wanted to.” Both parties agreed to drop the case in 2015, though the terms of the settlement were unclear at the time. The Office of Congressional Ethics also investigated Greene’s allegations, and in a letter to the House Ethics Committee it wrote that “there is not substantial reason” to believe Greene’s allegations, according to Politico. Farenthold has denied the allegations.
Last weekend marked a sad moment for college football fans: the end of the regular season, reminding us that we’ll soon have to wait a long time for more college ball. On the bright side, we now have a whole month of bowl games to look forward to! So, so many bowl games. North Texas plays Troy at the Superdome in the New Orleans Bowl, SMU plays Louisiana Tech in Frisco in the Frisco Bowl, Texas Tech takes on former University of Texas at Austin head coach Charlie Strong and South Florida in Alabama in the Birmingham Bowl, Houston heads to Honolulu to play Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl, and Texas plays Missouri in, um, the Texas Bowl in Houston. Texas A&M will face off against Wake Forest in Charlotte for the Belk Bowl, and TCU will take on Stanford in San Antonio in the Alamo Bowl. No team in Texas made the college football playoffs, and the only big-time bowl the state is hosting will see Ohio State play USC for the Cotton Bowl in Arlington. The University of Texas at San Antonio (6-5) was one of three bowl-eligible teams that was not selected for a bowl game.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
More women are being jailed in Texas than ever before, and here’s why Dallas Morning News
Memorial Hermann has a pilot program offering laughing gas to women in labor Houston Chronicle
Sheriff’s investigators in Brown County used DNA to make a sketch that led to the arrest of a suspected killer Associated Press
Conditions seem ripe for wildfires in Texas this winter Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Customs officers found more than 227 pounds of contraband bologna below the floor mats of a car at a border crossing in El Paso KFOX