Texas A&M is set to hire Duke’s Mike Elko as its next head coach, per Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle. Elko had served as the program’s defensive coordinator from 2018-2021 before accepting the head coaching job at Duke in 2022. The report two weeks after the program fired former head coach Jimbo Fisher, owing him a record $76 million buyout that will be paid out in installments through 2031.
Elko reportedly returns to College Station after a successful two-year stint at Duke, where he immediately got the program turned towards an upward trajectory. He went 9-4 in 2022, marking just the third 9+ win season for the Blue Devils since 1941. Elko and company would make an immediate statement to open the 2023 season, knocking off Clemson to open the season on Labor Day. This garnered national attention for both the program and the head coach himself as they emerged as an ACC title contender.
However, an ankle injury to starting quarterback Riley Leonard deflated some of their momentum as they ended up losing four of five games in the backhalf of their schedule. A victory over Pitt to close the season on Saturday still clinched them a winning season at 7-5.
Elko returns to Texas A&M as a familiar face in College Station who will be tasked with leading the program following the failure of the Fisher’s tenure. An interesting thing to watch will be who he decides to bring onto his staff.