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Texas A&M welcomes new head football coach Mike Elko back to College Station

Elko received a standing ovation as he entered Kyle Field's Ford Hall of Champions Monday afternoon.
Posted: 9:26 PM, Nov 27, 2023
Updated: 2023-11-27 22:26:15-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — “I’m back — I'm back in Aggieland," said Texas A&M head coach, Mike Elko during Monday's introductory press conference.

The search is over— the Aggies have their guy, as Mike Elko is back in College Station to take over as the next Texas A&M head football coach.

Elko spent four seasons as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach for the Aggies under head coach Jimbo Fisher before taking the head coaching job at Duke in 2021. In just two seasons, he turned the Blue Devils into a nine-win program and will look to bring even more success to the Maroon and White.

“I just think when you look at what this program is capable of, what we've got to do is we've got to fulfill that potential,” Elko said.

"We can't just say we want to be something. We can't just say we want to arrive somewhere. We've got to be committed to all the work that it's going to take from today until we kick off next September of doing that.”

Coach Elko brings a blue-collar mentality that will adapt to the modern day era of college football. Elko held his first team meeting Monday afternoon where he called it a “unique experience” knowing and having coached many of the players in the room.

“There's not many times when you go into a first team meeting and 50 of the players come up and give you a big hug and welcome you back,” Elko said.

"I think the start was really unique. It was great to see a lot of those kids. Some of those kids that I have coached, some of those kids that I kind of watched on the other side of the ball, some of those kids that were part of the evaluation process and recruiting process but didn't actually get to see arrive on campus. And so that part was really good. As much as there is this continuity of guys that you have known and you have related to over the years, you know, there's still a job that needs to be done in building it to the level that it needs to get to, and you got to make sure you don't cut any corners in doing that.”

Elko’s contract is set for six years with a base salary of $7 million a year plus incentives. Some of the incentives include an additional million dollars for a college football playoff appearance, $2.5 million if the Aggies advance to the National Championship game and $3.5 million if they win it.
“We wanted to be fair in the market, but we also wanted to say, ‘Hey, look, I think the landscape can change where you actually have to earn things,” said Texas A&M Athletic Director Ross Bjork.

“If somebody believes in themselves, believes in their plan, they have the right approach, they'll earn it — and as you can see, you have a chance to be paid like a national championship-level coach.”

As for interim head coach Elijah Robinson, Elko said it’s top priority to keep him here in Aggieland.

“That process has already begun. Obviously, him and I have a strong relationship from the last time we were here,” Elko said.

“Certainly, [we’re] going to do everything in our power to make sure that this is the place he believes is the right fit for him in his future moving forward.

Robinson will lead the Aggies through the bowl game before Elko takes over the team. We’ll have more information on the rest of the Aggie football coaching staff in the coming weeks, but for now, the Elko era has begun.