Texas A&M trumpets return of ‘best leader’ Mike Elko

Field Level Media

November 27, 2023 at 3:35 pm.

Texas A&M welcomed Mike Elko as head coach of the Aggies hours after he landed in College Station via private jet to begin meeting with players.

Elko, 16-9 in two seasons at Duke, served as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M for four seasons before leaving to become head coach of the Blue Devils.

“Coach Mike Elko is one of the best leaders and coaches in college football and has had high-level success at each stop of his career,” athletic director Ross Bjork said. “He is known amongst coaching circles as one of the best defensive minds in the country and has shown his ability to lead and turn around a program as a Power 5 head coach.”

Elko, 46, was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2022, when the Blue Devils went 9-4.

Texas A&M fired Jimbo Fisher after nearly six seasons. It was Fisher who brought Elko to College Station on his original coaching staff after the 2017 season and he was a semifinalist for the Frank Broyles Award given to the nation’s top assistant coach in 2021.

“Coach Elko has a vision for Aggie football, and a specific plan for innovation and greatness which is exactly what our program needs right now to compete in the modern era of college athletics,” Bjork said. “We are fortunate to attract a head coach of his character, coaching acumen, recruiting experience in the SEC, winning formula, ability to develop players to their full potential and a love and familiarity with Aggieland and our University, which makes him a perfect match,” Bjork concluded. “We are excited to welcome Coach Elko and his family back to Aggieland and we cannot wait to get started.”

Prior to joining Fisher’s staff at A&M, Elko was defensive coordinator at Notre Dame in 2017. He was a semifinalist for the Broyles Award that season and the Fighting Irish finished 10-3 with a win over LSU in the Citrus Bowl.

Duke opened the 2023 season with an impressive 28-7 takedown of Clemson.

The Blue Devils were 4-0 before quarterback Riley Leonard injured an ankle in a 21-14 loss to Notre Dame. Leonard later sustained a toe injury against Louisville on Oct. 28 and hasn’t played since.

Duke is 3-5 since the 4-0 start. The Blue Devils closed the regular season with a 30-19 win over Pitt on Saturday.

Fisher went 45-25 with the Aggies before being fired with two games remaining this season.