KAZ’S KORNER – COLLEGIATE COACHING CAROUSEL COMMENCES
What started within 48 hours after the conclusion of the annual Texas-Texas A&M football game the day after Thanksgiving, is going full blast now as college administrators are seeing some of that greener grass on the other side of the fence as far as their respective football coaching situation is concerned.
Moments after Texas A&M pulled off their impressive 38-30 upset over the highly-favored Texas Longhorns, Aggies’ head coach Dennis Franchione submitted his resignation, after having to listen to all the griping from influential alums or reading the blogs about his imminent dismissal.
Sly Ol’ Fran beat them all to the punch and tendered his resignation AFTER the school worked out a buyout for the remainder of his contract. Texas A&M wasted very little time naming Mike Sherman as Franchione’s replacement.
Sherman apparently was the Aggies’ first and only choice and they nailed him down in quick fashion, agreeing that he be allowed to complete his current contract as the offensive coordinator/assistant head coach of the Houston Texans, which runs until December 30 unless the Texans can magically somehow get into the NFL Playoffs.
There are so many positive reasons why Sherman is the perfect man for the job. His credentials are perhaps as glowing as any college coach in America.
He was the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers from 2000-2005, which puts him head-and-shoulders above most college head football coaches.
His record while coaching Green Bay was 59-43 and his .663 winning percentage in his first five seasons is second only to Vince Lombardi’s record.
The Packers won three NFC North titles in his six seasons. The Packers also produced two of the four highest scoring seasons in franchise history under Sherman.
But even more important than his impressive resume is the fact Sherman is aware of the many traditions that have been around the College Station campus for over a century.
This was one major drawback about Franchione, who alienated himself from many of the everyday traditions of the campus and some of the program’s old guard. Athletic Director Bill Byrne hoped to rebuild some of those old connections by bringing Sherman back.
Sherman knows about Hullabaloo, Caneck! Caneck!, the Midnight Yell Practices, the Aggies Muster, the elephant walk, the Twelfth Man, the school mascot dog Reveille, the military aspects of the school, the student body standing throughout the entire football game and all of the many other traditions that have made the campus unique.
Sherman, 52, coached the Aggies offensive line during two stints under former coach and Orange native R. C. Slocum from 1989-93 and again 1995-96.
And equally important is the fact the alumni and former players such as Texans head coach Gary Kubiak will support Sherman because of his former ties to the school and his background as an NFL head coach.
One big drawback for Sherman will be the fact he has been in the NFL since 1997 and has never been a college head football coach. And the fact he will have to wait until the 2007 NFL season concludes could very well hurt the Aggies’ recruiting this month.
This has apparently been one of the big reasons for the demise of the Notre Dame football program under Charlie Weis, who also never was a college head coach before taking his present job.
But the Aggies want to make sure things run smoothly on their campus and have brought back Tim Cassidy as associate athletic director for football from Nebraska where he held a similar position. Cassidy spent 19 years in the A&M athletic department before leaving for Nebraska.
He will be in charge of organizing the Aggies’ recruiting efforts and take care of other essential football operations while Sherman remains in his role as Texans offensive coordinator.
Several other head football positions became available in the past week including the Nebraska job when Bill Callahan was fired and Bo Pelini hired. Ed Orgeron was fired at Ole Miss and Lloyd Carr retired at Michigan prompting the media to immediately have the job filled by LSU’s Les Miles, although he swears he’s not interested.
Houston Nutt has stepped down at Arkansas, Chan Gailey was fired by Georgia Tech, Jeff Bower resigned at Southern Miss, Ted Roof was fired by Duke and Sonny Lubick was re-assigned at Colorado State. Art Briles left the University of Houston to take the Baylor job which became open when Guy Morriss was canned a couple of weeks ago.
That’s just a smattering of activity around the nation’s college campuses as the 2007 football season ends and the bowl season is set to begin.
KWICKIES…The Houston Astros chose to replace franchise icon Craig Biggio with Kaz Matsui at second base. Matsui played in the 2007 World Series with the Colorado Rockies and signed a three-year contract for $16.5 million with the Astros last weekend. The 32-year old Matsui hit .288 with the Rockies last year with four home runs, six triples, 37 RBI and had 32 stolen bases. Other new faces to the team for 2008 include utility man Geoff Blum, center fielder Michael Bourn, plus pitchers Oscar Villarreal, Geoff Geary and Doug Brocail since new general manager Ed Wade came on the scene. All these moves have probably put young Astros Luke Scott and Chris Burke on the future trading block.
With No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia losing last weekend, it threw the BCS into a turmoil. When the dust settled LSU and Ohio State emerged as the two teams playing for the National championship Jan. 7 in New Orleans. Other BCS Bowls include Illinois vs. USC (Rose), Hawaii vs. Georgia (Sugar), Oklahoma vs. West Virginia (Fiesta) and Virginia Tech vs. Kansas (Orange). Missouri will meet Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. Texas teams involved in bowl games include the Longhorns vs. Arizona State (Holiday Bowl), Texas A&M vs. Penn State (Alamo Bowl), TCU vs. Houston (Texas Bowl) and Texas Tech vs. Virginia (Gator Bowl).
Thanks to Title IX where female collegiate sports must be funded proportionately to men’s sports, the possibility of bringing football back to Lamar University in Beaumont may not be more than just a pipe dream. Let’s hope the “big money parties” come up with the necessary funding and the return of college football to the Beaumont campus becomes a reality.
JUST BETWEEN US…For the second year in a row the West Orange-Stark Mustangs’ quest for a Class 3A state football championship was cut short by a breakdown in the kicking game. Last year Giddings scored the winning touchdown after recovering a bad snap by the ‘Stangs. Friday night Waco La Vega won 20-12 after the Mustangs missed two extra points. La Vega scored a “gimme” touchdown after the Mustangs had used all their time outs and 1:23 was left in the game. The only chance WO-S had at that point was to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion, tie the game and win in overtime. But a fumble ended that last-ditch long shot opportunity. However, the Mustangs went a lot further in the playoffs than most fans thought they would and had another great season. And to quote the old Brooklyn Dodgers fans, “Wait ‘til next year!!!