Go to FireCoachSherman.com and that just about sums up what happened in Mike Sherman’s first season in College Station. Let’s face it, he took over a program that had regressed under the supervision of Dennis Franchione, a tenure that ended in disgrace. In the five years previous to Sherman’s arrival, Texas A&M went 32-28 (including three bowl game losses). That’s barely treading water.
In Sherman’s 2008 campaign, the Aggies went 4-8. This is not as shocking to me because new coaching regimes that change the offensive and defensive schemes experience growing pains. Sherman has landed two classes in the Top Five of recruiting in the Big 12. That’s impressive for a guy who spent the bulk of his career in the NFL where drafting and recruiting are as different as day and night in the Texas sky. There’s plenty of talent on the Aggies’ sideline (Franchione wasn’t a bad recruiter in his own right), but the wins simply didn’t happen in 2008. The wins haven’t happened for a while in College Station.
I can peruse many a Texas A&M message board and find all sorts of coaching speculation threads (one common name that appears is former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville). This amazes me because the pieces are in place for Sherman to be successful at Texas A&M, but I think if the fan support continues to erode, the school’s Board of Regents will pull the trigger on him the way they did on R.C. Slocum (Canning Franchione was inevitable after that newsletter/website scandal).
Texas A&M seems to be one of these schools that will not get out of its own way on the road to sustained success. Before his dismissal, Slocum had begged and fought with the powers that be to upgrade the Aggies’ facilities in order to compete with the elite schools in the conference. He finally won that battle (though he was not around to see it), but it should have never taken a battle at all to see how recruits these days are rarely swayed by tradition, the 12th man, etc. and are enticed by nice stadiums, state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and the opportunity to go to the NFL. Pulling the plug on Sherman early would effectively confirm that place as a coaching graveyard - a reputation no tradition can overcome. Then, like other schools who fired or forced out coaches (hint hint Auburn), A&M would have to reach for a coach with neither the track record or the experience necessary to be successful at a big time school in a big time program.