Summary: Signed a contract with school A while waiting for decisions from school B. Now got offer from B, and want to back out of the signed contract with A

What is the best strategy to back out a tenure track faculty offer and minimize its negative impact on both sides?

I am in an awkward situation. I interviewed two schools, A & B, this spring. School A made me an offer while B is still in the interview process. I contacted the B’s committee chair about A’s offer, the committee chair just said, everything is slow, no way to control it.

I asked around for suggestions. I was suggested by many people to take A’s offer just to secure a faculty position. Yes, I did. After I signed A’s offer and got ready to start this August, B suddenly notified me and is gonna make an offer.

B is a big top university and is very close to my family. A is a small teaching university and is very far away from my spouse. I visited A and their faculties are very nice. The chair is very supportive.

What should I do? I feel very guilty if I tell A, say – sorry, I cannot join you now.

Should I ask B to defer the starting date for 1 academic year, so that I can fulfill my duty at school A for my first year’s contract so that A will not get mad at me? What shall I do if B will not agree to defer a year? Just back out A’s offer brutally?

Any comments and suggestions are welcome and appreciated here.

Thank you!