Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher pulls defensive coordinator away from Notre Dame

Published January 4
Updated January 4

Texas A&M has hired Notre Dame defensive coordinator Mike Elko to coach Jimbo Fisher’s defense.

The Aggies announced the hiring Thursday, a few hours after Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly posted on Twitter that Elko was leaving.

Elko was at Notre Dame for one season and it’s defense took a big step forward, from 5.40 yards per play allowed (45th nationally) to 5.05 (25th). He spent the previous three seasons at Wake Forest.

"I’m excited to bring one of the top defensive minds in the nation onto our staff here at Texas A&M," Fisher said in a statement. "No matter where Mike has worked, he has consistently produced defenses that have been among the nation’s best."

Texas A&M tried to hire Dave Aranda away from LSU, but he chose to stay with the Tigers and signed a four-year deal worth $10 million on Wednesday. Aranda is the first Division I-A assistant to make more than $2 million per year.

Elko, 40, spent three seasons at Wake before being hired by Kelly as part of a major overhaul to Notre Dame’s staff. The Irish went 4-8 in 2016 but rebounded to 10-3 this past season.

Fisher took over Texas A&M last month after eight seasons at Florida State. He took neither of his coordinators from FSU with him, hiring Darrell Dickey away from Memphis to be offensive coordinator and now Elko to lead the defense. Joining Fisher from FSU are tight ends coach Tim Brewster, running backs coach Jay Graham and receivers coach Dameyune Craig. Fisher also retained A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner.

LEAVING FOR NFL DRAFT: Florida State defensive lineman Josh Sweat will forgo his final season. The 6-foot-5, 253-pound Sweat led the team in sacks (5˝) and tackles for loss (12˝). … Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown, a first-team All-American, and Mark Andrews, the Mackey Award winner as the nation’s top tight end, are bypassing their final seasons.

YALE: Carmen "Carm" Cozza, who coached the school to 10 Ivy League titles as well as the famed 29-29 tie with Harvard, died. He was 87 and had lived in Orange, Conn. Mr. Cozza coached the Bulldogs from 1965 to 1996 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2002. He retired as the winningest coach in Ivy League history at 179-119-5, including an undefeated 1968 season that ended in a legendary 29-29 tie with Harvard. The Crimson scored 16 points in the final minute for the tie. The headline in the Harvard Crimson student paper read, "Harvard Beats Yale, 29-29." Mr. Cozza called the outcome "devastating" — the "worst loss of my life, even though it was a tie."


MEN: Landry Shamet scored 18 in just 22 minutes to lead No. 9 Wichita State (12-2, 2-0 AAC) past visiting Houston 81-63. "You know that movie Gladiator?" Houston coach Kelvin Sampson asked after the game. "I felt like one of those guys, like they just threw us in the middle of the ring with no chance."

WOMEN: Nausia Woolfolk scored a career-high 18 and No. 11 Florida State (14-1, 2-0 ACC) beat host Clemson for the 17th straight time, 69-47. … Marina Mabrey scored 21, Arike Ogunbowale had 20 and No. 2 Notre Dame (14-1, 3-0 ACC) survived an upset bid by visiting Miami in an 83-76 victory. … Asia Durr had 22 points and came back from a first-half leg injury to grab a key rebound late that helped No. 3 Louisville (17-0, 3-0 ACC) survive a fourth-quarter rally at home by No. 17 Duke for a 66-60 win. … A’ja Wilson had 25 points and 15 rebounds as No. 4 South Carolina (13-1, 2-0 SEC) beat host Mississippi 88-62. … Jaime Nared scored 19, Evina Westbrook made a tiebreaking basket with 1:43 left and No. 7 Tennessee (14-0, 2-0 SEC) outlasted visiting Auburn 70-59. … Stephanie Mavunga scored 25 to help No. 10 Ohio State (13-0, 2-0 Big Ten) rout visiting Minnesota 91-75.

TEXAS: Warriors star Kevin Durant is donating $3 million to his alma mater, where he won player of the year honors in his lone season (2006-07).