Mike Leslie, WFAA sports anchor Photo Credit: WFAA

Texas A&M announced new head coach Mike Elko Monday morning. It took only a few hours for one of the most prominent sports anchors in Texas to trash Elko’s goals of becoming a nationally elite program.

Mike Leslie, the Emmy-winning sports anchor for WFAA ABC 8 in Dallas, announced Elko’s hiring on Monday’s newscast. Leslie noted they had crossed paths years before: Leslie, who attended Hofstra University and worked for the student newspaper, covered Elko when he was a defensive coordinator at the school.

Leslie then praised the Aggies’ decision to hire Elko, who most recently spent two seasons as head coach at Duke. He replaces ousted A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, who the university fired Nov. 12 despite owing him more than $77 million in a buyout.

“I’m excited for Elko,” Leslie said. “I think he’s genuinely a very good hire for A&M and I think he’s the type of grounded, substantive hire A&M needed after years of more flash than anything else.”

Any A&M boosters watching Leslie’s commentary had to be thrilled by his tone. Then Leslie continued.

“But Elko at his press conference on Monday said something that just doesn’t compute for me,” Leslie said. “He talked about how A&M is going to fulfill their potential as the premier football program in the country. And he said that the best version of Texas A&M wins national championships.”

“And I just want to ask — based … on … what? Texas A&M, their fans, their boosters, Aggies believe their program should be among the elite in college football. Why?”

Leslie went on to mention the Aggies’ great season in 2012, when they won 11 games and quarterback Johnny Manziel won the Heisman Trophy. But he pointed out A&M has had only one other double-digit win season since 1994.

“Texas A&M has two double-digit win seasons since I was 8 years old,” Leslie said. “The Kansas Jayhawks have stumbled their way into just as many.”

“I’m happy for Elko and I hope for his sake he has success in College Station,” Leslie said. “But the idea that A&M should be a premier program in the country, it takes more than money to build that. The Aggies are proof. Maybe Mike Elko is finally the missing link.”

Leslie’s commentary used Elko’s words, but didn’t seem aimed at the new coach. What program wants to hire a coach who doesn’t aspire to be the very best? Instead, Leslie seemed to target Texas A&M fans, and more specifically, the affluent boosters who have pumped so much money into the program that a $77 million buyout to make a coach go away seems like a good idea.

Not surprisingly, those Aggies boosters ripped Leslie’s biting commentary.

[Mike Leslie; Photo Credit: WFAA}

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.