Last year was an unbelievable whirlwind for Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin. After quickly making the transition from Houston to College Station last spring, Sumlin went to SEC Media Day in July and basically learned that the respect level from the rest of the SEC for his Aggies was practically nil.
From there, all Sumlin did was go 11-2 in his first season, knock off defending (and soon to be repeat) national champions Alabama in Tuscaloosa, groom the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner, and destroy Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
For his efforts, Sumlin was named Lombardi Coach of the Year by the Rotary Club of Houston, named SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, was a finalist for the Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the Year Award, and received a raise and an extension from Texas A&M.
He even was picked to be the grand marshal for this Saturday's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo parade.
And just when you thought the accolade faucet would slow to a drip for maybe a month or two, along comes the honor for Coach Sumlin of which I, personally, am the most jealous:
On Sunday evening in College Station, in front of what I'm sure will end up being a capacity crowd at Reed Arena, Sumlin will be named an honorary WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Yes, for one night, the ghosts of Lombardi and Bryant will have to take a back seat to the ghosts of the Undertaker, Randy Orton, and Triple H (although all three of them are still very much alive).
The presentation of the replica title belt will take place just before the main event of the evening which pits the current champion Alberto Del Rio (a former rule breaker who just recently came over to the "good side," and is now WWE's great Hispanic hope) against WWE mainstay, the 500 plus pound Big Show (a former champion and, more importantly, a South Carolina native; I can't imagine a Gamecock is going to be very happy with an Aggie getting WWE gold. Just sayin'.)
Sumin has long been a WWE fan and has a close friendship with WWE Hall of Fame announcer and Oklahoma Sooner sideline fixture Jim Ross that dates back to Sumlin's days as assistant coach and later offensive coordinator for Bob Stoops' Sooner teams from 2003 through 2007.
While the event on Sunday is designed, above all else, to just have some good, clean WWE fun, you can certainly see the "recruiting genius" portion of Kevin Sumlin's brain at work. While I'm sure Sumlin's office is awash in pictures of impressive photo opportunities, decorated with the finest furniture, and filled with some impressive football related hardware, the first thing that 16- and 17-year-old blue chip recruits will ask about when they visit him will be his replica WWE title belt. Mark it down.
Just what Kevin Sumlin needed -- help on the recruiting trail. To the kids, one of college football's coolest coaches just got cooler.
Of course, the Longhorns are now flooding WWE's phone lines to see if WWE can book Mack Brown for the next live event in Austin so that he can be the honorary recipient of a chair shot.
That's football life in the state of Texas right now.
Details on the WWE event, for those who want to make the road trip up to College Station on Sunday afternoon (I'm going!) are right here:
Tickets are on sale at the Reed Arena Box Office, or tickets can be purchased over the phone by calling 1-888-99-AGGIE (888-992-4443) or online at 12thManFoundation.com. Ticket prices are $95, $50, $35, $25, and $15. Texas A&M students with a valid ID can purchase tickets for $10 at the Reed Arena Box Office. (Plus applicable facility, service and handling fees.)
In addition to the World Heavyweight Champion and the Big Show, other WWE Superstars scheduled to appear include Sheamus, Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, The Miz, Sin Cara, Brodus Clay, Jack Swagger, The Divas and many more.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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