He was (still is) “The Butcher’s Guy”…. but “Jimma” Sexton is also “the guy” for more Big Time College Coaches than any one “in the world”. No one is involved in more coaching hires in America than this former Tennessee Volunteer football manager.
This is a long article but one you will find fascinating.
SOMEWHERE HIGH ABOVE Mississippi, the super agent some call the most powerful man in college football is simultaneously clutching his knee with his left hand and an armrest with his right. His eyes are tightly closed.
“Hey, guys, is it going to be like this [the] whole way?” Sexton asks them.
“We hope not,” one of them says. “We’re trying to climb higher to get above it.”
“How long have we been in the air?” Sexton asks out loud to no one in particular.
It had been only 14 minutes.
“Great,” Sexton says. “This is going to be great for your story. The guy who controls everything is freaking out at 18,000 feet.”
Indeed, the short flight from Oxford, Mississippi, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the late afternoon on Nov. 7 is one of the rare occasions in which Sexton, the agent behind the careers of many of college football’s most successful coaches, doesn’t seem completely in control.
BEFORE THIS COLLEGE football regular season ended, there were more than a dozen head-coaching openings, including Power 5 jobs at schools such as Miami, Missouri, South Carolina, USC and Virginia Tech. A handful of other jobs opened as soon as the regular season ended, including Georgia, Rutgers and Virginia, in what might be the most active firing-and-hiring season in recent college football history.
While there’s uneasiness at football offices from coast to coast, the one certainty is that the decision-makers at many of them will have Sexton on speed dial. He’s the go-between for many coaches and the athletic directors who want to hire them.
In many ways, Sexton drives the marketplace when it comes to college football coaches. With a roster so deep, there’s a good chance some of his clients are going to be fired and others are going to be hired — sometimes for the same job.
Sexton is the co-head of the football division of Creative Artists Agency, which represents more than 100 professional players and more than 50 FBS coaches. He personally reps more than a dozen FBS coaches, including Alabama’s Nick Saban, Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and UCLA’s Jim Mora.
That’s why he is considered one of the most powerful people in the sport, even if the 52-year-old single father of three sons doesn’t like the label very much.
“I don’t really understand it,” Sexton said. “I don’t try to be influential. I just try to build good relationships. In this business, it’s all about the relationships you have with your clients and the people who are hiring them.”
Earlier this year, Forbes estimated that Sexton has negotiated about $742.5 million in contracts for NFL players and college coaches, earning about $24.8 million in commissions (the industry average is about 3 to 4 percent). He recently negotiated huge deals for NFL clients including Philip Rivers, Ndamukong Suh and Julio Jones.
“He’s never pissed anybody off,” Saban said. “He’s always done great for me, and I really appreciate it. Not once has somebody been upset about the negotiations. You really don’t want to ruin relationships over those kinds of things.”
Sexton always seems to be on top of everything happening in the coaching world, even if he is rarely in one place for very long. His iPhone is constantly in his hand and his voice mailbox always seems to be full when he doesn’t answer. He has probably accumulated more than one million frequent-flyer miles since football season kicked off in early September.