This morning, Texas A&M celebrated their official entrance into the SEC with a flag raising ceremony on campus. Kevin Sumlin was among those in attendance and shared his thoughts with the media afterward.
“It’s a lot of work by a lot of different people obviously before I got here,” he said. “It’s a day that a lot of people have been looking for. I think Dr. Loftin said it best, it’s been a lot of work. He’s seen a lot of different things happen and really it’s the start of a whole new deal here. Playing in the ‘league of champions,’ as Eric Hyman said, this is the best league in the country and not just football but for everybody. We’re excited about it.”
However, for Sumlin, the move is one that they’ve embraced for well over a year now. So while Texas A&M has only officially been in the SEC for two days, his staff has lived it for seven months.
“It’s kind of interesting for me, it’s been that way since I got here,” he said. “We’ve approached it this way from day one, I think for a lot of people who have been a part of the Big 12 over the last decade, it’s probably a bigger realization today when you see the flags go up. As a football staff, we’ve kind of approached it that we were in the SEC from December on. It’s really official today for the university but as a football program we’ve pretty much approached it that way from day one.”
There are a number of reasons that Aggies are excited about the move, but one of them is getting to see their team play in some of the nation’s best college football atmospheres. Atmospheres that, according to Sumlin, are similar to their own at Kyle Field.
“I said earlier, I think people got upset, I said that we’re very very proud of Kyle Field and the atmosphere, and I think people took it the wrong way when I said everywhere we go in the SEC is like Kyle Field,” he said. “In a way that’s true, the traditions, the pageantry, the places we’re going to play are going to be special. As a coach and as players, as a university, that’s what you want. You want to compete in those kind of venues against the best and be part of that. All of those stadiums, at different universities we’ve had the opportunity to play at Alabama at night and Mississippi state a couple of places around. I’m looking forward to all of them. I say that now, in six months I’ll probably have a different story for you, but right now we’re all looking forward to it.”
Sumlin knows that as the new football coach, people are going to be watching him closely this season, and that he’s going to be one of the faces of A&M’s move into the SEC. It’s a challenge that he says not only he, but the entire school is looking forward to."
“A lot of times it’s just right place right time,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I think in the overall scheme of things, as great of an institution as Texas A&M is and has been, I think moving into the SEC just ratchets it up just a little bit more and brings this university and all of the sports programs at this university to another level.”