Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: Fisher was a hot commodity when the Aggies hired him in 2018, having posted a 83-23 record that included a BCS championship at Florida State. He never approached that success at Texas A&M, but winning records and bowl victories in his first three seasons triggered a new 10-year contract with $95 million guaranteed in 2021. Winning ceased, bowl appearances dried up and Fisher was fired even though the school must pay him that staggering $77.5 million buyout, dwarfing the previous record buyout of $21.7 million paid in 2020 to former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.
Zach Arnett, Mississippi State: Arnett had been the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator for three seasons when he took over the reins after the sudden death of coach Mike Leach in December. He didn’t last a season, getting fired Monday after a 51-10 loss to Texas A&M that also was Fisher’s last game. Mississippi State was 4-6 under Arnett and had trouble scoring. However, he’ll be paid a buyout of $4.5 million — half of the $9 million left on his contract.
Andy Avalos, Boise State: Avalos was fired Sunday, having gone 22-14 in three seasons in charge of a program used to winning at a far greater rate. The last five Boise State coaches left for Power 5 jobs. Avalos, a former All-WAC linebacker for the Broncos, had success as a defensive coordinator at Boise State and Oregon and likely will be hired quickly in that capacity again. How much is his buyout? Quaint, by Fisher standards. Avalos will be paid 85% of what his base salary was to be the next two years, a total of $2.85 million.
Brady Hoke, San Diego State: Hoke had two stints with the Aztecs, sandwiched around a four-year run at Michigan. He will retire at the end of this season, having posted a record of 39-31 over those two stints. Hoke, 65, twice was named Mountain West coach of the year. Like Arnett and Avalos, Hoke was a defense-first coach whose team had trouble scoring. He had three years left on his contract and a buyout of $5 million, which likely was reduced when he announced his retirement.