How Much More Can We Take?

 


Mike Sherman – OC, Houston Texans
2nd season
Age – 53
Sherman is a favorite among Aggie fans who cut their teeth on Aggie football in the 1990’s, as he was an assistant coach for RC Slocum’s team for the better part of a decade, leaving only during the probation year of 1994 to coach at UCLA. He left Texas A&M to join the Green Bay Packers, where he was named Head Coach in 2000 and General Manager in 2001 after following Mike Holmgren to the Seattle Seahawks for the 1999 season. Sherman was fired in January 2006 after posting a 4-12 record with the Packers. After being away from college football for ten years, the biggest question mark on Sherman is how he’d fare in recruiting against Mack Brown and Bob Stoops.

AL – Did RC gain a bunch of weight in the last 5 years? Blah. Another old silver haired white guy. Oh, he coached at A&M once? Oh, he was a head coach in the NFL? Is that supposed to get recruits fired up? Do we really need another CEO head coach? This does NOTHING for me.

Rich – Despite his ties to A&M, I’m not feelin it.

Cam – Pros: NFL experience Cons: Is old and boring. Kinda like Charlie Weiss. Who I hate.

HA – As Byrne puts the finishing touches on his master plan to completely destroy Aggie football, he calls Aggie Head Coach Mike Sherman to see if he wants to go catch a sizzlah and a walleroo at Outback.

DM – Once an aggie always an aggie

KP – I’m still confused by the recent revelations that he is not 76 years old. I’ll pass on him because prematurely-aged people weird me out.

from “Be Careful What You Ask For“, published Oct 18, 2007 on HSJ

 


    

Well, here we are, Ags. Almost three years to the day that this assessment of Mike Sherman was published, and we are worse off now than we were then. Do you remember what it was like that 2007 season? At this point, we were three weeks into the revelation that Head Coach Dennis Franchione and a guy named Mike McKenzie, who Fran brought with him from Alabama to chronicle his every move for an autobiography that never happened and with who he shared a business that published “inside” information to a very select group of people who were willing to pay $1200 (get it? 12?). They called it the “VIP Connection Newsletter”. It wasn’t select so much as it was just difficult to find dumbasses who would pay that kind of money for “inside” information.

Or was it? Back to that in a minute…

At that point, we’d lost to a Miami team that whipped us silly and fucked us stupid from each and every camera angle possible on ESPN. Suddenly, the best journalist in the state that covers A&M, Brent Zwerneman, had some of his own “inside” info on the VIP Newsletter. You see, in this newsletter a subscriber would find very private information, such as unpublished injury reports (if you remember, Fran wouldn’t release injury status on players…unless you were a VIP, that is), which could be used for (oh, I don’t know) betting on games. Also, it turns out that Mr. McKenzie (and I use the title “Mr.” in the loosest sense of the word possible) ran gestapo-like techniques on internet sites and even provided false info to some and under-the-radar info to others who might do something like (oh, I don’t know) give him their subscriber list, including personal information, so he could contact individuals directly who might not agree with the info he was putting out there.

It was a bad time, and fortunately Zwerneman had the stones to step up and call these assholes out on the carpet, despite the fact that these assholes wrote the foreword to his book. We salute you here at HSJ, Brent. You are the true deliverer (word?) of Aggie truth.

All of this added up to what we all knew was inevitable. We fired RC Slocum because the game had literally passed him by, as teams adopted the circus-like offense of Mike Leach and RC’s teams were falling behind the curve. Fran came in and instead of trying to play football as we know it, worked his ass off to get his PR staff in place to look as good as possible for an eventual jump to the NFL. It backfired, though, when people realized that Fran was really kinda dumb and behind the façade of his PR machine that was trying to convince us that he was the next Bobby Bowden, we found out that he was just running a triple-option veer and taking advantage of the dumb clock rules that were in place for all of two years.

We KNEW what was going to happen in 2007, and message boards lit up daily for over a month with suggestions for who the new head coach of Texas A&M would be. There were so many names tossed about, such as Tommy Tuberville (now at Texas Tech, where a defense-first coach would LOVE to be), Rich Rodriguez, (who gave his own alma mater the same double fisted-salute that Fran gave Alabama when he left Tuscaloosa), or The Old Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier. Rumor was that Spurrier told people close to him that he was headed to B/CS and was expecting a call from Byrne to talk about it at any moment.

Tick tock, tick tock.

Regardless of who was going to be the next coach, we were certain that Fran was out. There was no official statement until after the last game against Texas was played (a game that Fran won), but everyone knew it was going to happen. Let’s not fool ourselves, though. Fran wasn’t fired because he had a side deal with a slimy creep to give out personal info that may or may not have violated HIPAA rules. He was fired because:

  1. He didn’t win enough. Thru five seasons, he was 32-28 overall and 19-21 in conference. Two of his five seasons were losing seasons (2003: 4-8, 2005: 5-6); he went to three bowl games (2004, 2006, and posthumously in 2007 but did not coach). In the two bowl games he coached, he was anally raped by Tennessee and California, led by Jeff Tedford whose name was also passed around as a potential replacement.
  2. He didn’t recruit anywhere near the level expected. When he was hired, we expected him to bring in players along the lines of LaDanian Tomlinson (TCU) or any of the players on Alabama’s team. The problem was that LT was already at TCU when he got there, and the reason Alabama had so many good players was because they were paying them to be there. That last part put ol’ Bamy on probation, which is why Fran and MicMac hauled ass out of Alabama as soon as they could.
  3. He wasn’t very well liked, outside of the usual jock-sniffers who were trying to get close to the program and the people that were forced to like him, like his own players (see: McGee, Stephen).

The first two are clear. He didn’t win (never beat OU) and got his giant ass handed to him in recruiting (outside of Martellus Bennett). The third point is interesting. It’s not that people didn’t care for him; people who knew him HATED him. He didn’t help his cause by letting Mike McKenzie push people around using the “Bad Aggie” method, nor did it help to have a worthless sack of shit like Charlie North bully anyone he could find standing anywhere around Netum Steed. He was backed by the all-powerful Lowry Mays, but when push came to shove Lowry had no choice but to back off and let the wolves feed on Fran’s carcass. The feeding frenzy was brutal, Ags. Three years ago, the Aggie Nation was doing everything north of rooting for losses so Fran would have no choice but to be gone.

Finally, the day came. We played the sips as is Texas Thanksgiving tradition, and all ran to our computers to watch the post-game presser where we got to watch Dennis Wayne Franchione resign with dignity. As his last words as an Aggie fell from his lips, however, he was interrupted by the Cozening Beast himself, Clarence Byrne. Fran couldn’t even get his last “Gig ’em” out before Clarence grabbed the mic away from Fran and announced that he was conducting a “nation-wide search” for the next head coach in a brief statement where he feigned impatience with Fran’s long-winded resignation speech.

Remember the second paragraph of this article? When I said “Back to that in a minute…”? Let’s go back there. Apparently, there was a group of dumbasses so disgusted by Fran that they bartered a deal with the Cozening Beast to get one of “their guys” back at A&M. The CB ran MILLIONS of dollars short on a capital campaign for new construction of facilities. When that didn’t happen and we kept on losing, he had to make a deal. A certain employee of the university was at the point of the deal and promised CB that all of the money issues would go away IF he hired the right guy. The RIGHT guy. An Aggie with ties to the former regime before Fran when things were good and when we won our last bowl game, finished in the top 25 last, and won a conference championship. If he didn’t hire the RIGHT guy, things could get really ugly for him. He could lose his job, and everyone would find out that he mismanaged the department’s finances so bad that they were not only short, but BIG TIME short; possibly as high as $30m.

Hire the right guy, and the people behind him will take care of the money situation. How? Thru donations and some creative things within the university/12th Man Foundation structure. But keep that under wraps, he was told. No reason to air that dirty laundry…as long as you hire the RIGHT guy.

Within days, A&M was introducing the new head coach. The RIGHT guy was hired, and the CB was able to sleep at night knowing that all his worries were behind him. From a fan standpoint, we were told that Sherman was the answer to all our issues:

  1. He was a winner. The man coached Green Bay to three division titles in five years and only had one losing season. The only reason he still wasn’t in Green Bay was because of politics. “Wait,” you may say, “Where else has he been a head coach before? And how long has it been since he was coaching in college?” Nevermind the question from the back. We’d also like to re-introduce long-lost coach RC Slocum back to the Koldus Building.Don’t he look nice in maroon again ?
  2. The man can recruit LIGHTS OUT. He coached Brett Favre, for gawd’s sake. He can sell these kids on the fact that he was an NFL GM and knows what it takes to get to the pro level. He attended many combines and drafts and can coach these kids up to a level that no one else in the Big XII is capable of because he runs his program like an NFL program. “Hold on,” says the demon swine in the back of the room, “How many NFL coaches have failed at the college level recently? Can you name any not named Pete Carroll (who, since then, got USC on probation and lost the Heisman Trophy for his star running back) who have won at all?” I’d like to have that question stricken from the record. Long live the CB. Let everyone know that this was Clarence’s decision to hire him after an exhaustive nation-wide search in which no other candidates were interviewed or considered and no one named McKinney or Goodwin had anything to do with this hire.
  3. Everyone likes him. He knows how Aggies work and will do everything he can to make people understand how special of a place Aggieland can be. RC likes him. Tim Cassidy loves him. All of his former players love him, including Brett Favre. Did we mention that he coached Brett Favre? “Whoa, whoa, whoa…” goes the same asshole who is being shoved out of the door, but lobs in this salvo before he’s gone, “Isn’t this the same group that we had before the last guy? How is he even qualified to coach a college team? Are you guys even serious about making this program a winning team again?” Ok, that’s enough out of you, BAD AGGIE. Get him out of here. Like we were saying, Tim Cassidy loves Mike Sherman, and A&M sells itself to recruits who are DYING to play for a tradition-rich program like A&M…[sound slowly fades away as the doors slam in our faces]
     

Out in the hallway with Gene Stallings and Jackie Sherrill we go. That’s it?!? We don’t get any more say in it than that? What about Lowery Mays? What did he say about this hire? Well, if you must know, he got burned by Fran so he stayed out of it. Shaking our heads, we go out into the courtyard where the Reveilles are buried and look up at the sky. That’s it?!? Mike Sherman?

  • In order to secure recruiting and show that we mean business, he was given a fully-loaded seven year deal worth $1.8m yearly. That’s the same as Baylor pays for their head coach except that every single cent of it is guaranteed. Ahhh, but we have more money to pay our assistants, and Coach Sherman accepted the lower amount for that reason, right?
    • We hire Reggie Herring from Arkansas as our DC
      • Reggie Herring quits a month into the job and takes a position coach job with the Dallas Cowboys. Reports are that the was MISERABLE the entire month he was at A&M and told everyone that it was going to be an epic failure.
    • We hire Joe Kines, who retired from Alabama and had a job sniffing dry erase markers in the alumni center
      • We finish in the bottom 25 for two years on defense, and are told that Fran “left the cupboard dry”; Kines re-retires after two years of knocking over stuff in his office with his rock-hard old man boner.
    • We go out and hire a real, honest-to-goodness DC in Tim DeRuyter. Excellent hire…can’t complain about this

Since Sherman still had a job in the NFL, he needed to finish out the season with them before he could take over. Whoa, what? Oh, and he has to pass this test before he can talk to any recruits anyway, so we really don’t need him until the middle of January anyway. Huh?!? Did I hear that right?

Yes, you did. We were told that this was Sherman’s “dream job”, and that he would have walked away from the Green Bay Buttfucking Shit Packers to take the job. He was so enamored by being the coach at A&M…it took him over a month to show up full time to do the job. Yes, you read that correctly. Sounds motivated.  Meanwhile, he got his teeth kicked in at the recruiting game.  He made amends for it in his second year, nailing down an impressive OL class that is forced to play as true freshman even though he is supposed to be able to “coach up” lesser talent.  This year, however, he gets his teeth kicked in again to epic proportions.

Three years later, and where do we stand? Let’s review:

  1. He is a loser, going 13-18 in 2 ½ seasons. At this point, if he goes 6-0 to end the season, he’ll end up at .500 overall. If he goes .500 the rest of the season, he’ll be at 16-21 as coach at A&M. In that case, he’d have to go 9-3 next year TO GET TO .500. Let THAT sink in. In the games he won, only one was a top 25 team. In his losses, he gets BLOWN out. He hasn’t even been able to hang with OU, and has lost to Texas twice, Baylor, and hasn’t beaten Oklahoma State. He did, however, beat an FIU team after a miraculous 21-pt fourth quarter and a last minute stop on defense. He has lost 12 straight games on television.  He lost his very first college game as head coach ever to Arkansas State, a team that has changed its mascot six times in the last 1oo years (Aggies, Farmers, Warriors, Gorillas, Indians, Red Wolves).
  2. The man can’t recruit his way out of a paper nutsack. Some high school coaches call him a “professional” and very easy to deal with, especially compared to Fran. Others think he is lazy and feels like the entire staff just expects commits because they are A&M, a team that hasn’t been relevant since most of the kids they are recruiting were in KINDERGARTEN. In this year alone, his recruiting list is highlighted by a single player that is ranked as a three-star currently. Texas Tech, Baylor, and OSU are all out-recruiting. Coaches who reach out to A&M are told that they aren’t interested in visiting them because they don’t have “A&M caliber players”.
  3. He’s really not all that likeable. He’s a football nerd, and football nerds are hard to talk to. Players aren’t close to him, and he spends the games with his giant head shoved into his playbook. Donors feel a disconnect to him. In a time when you aren’t winning and aren’t recruiting, you need to be able to keep people on board with your plan, but his personality doesn’t dictate that sort of thing. He’s not unlikeable. Just not overly friendly. Being likeable is overrated in the first place, but it’s kinda essential when you fail at everything else.

Those are the three criteria that got Fran fired, and Sherman is doing worse in all of them than Fran ever did. Throw in the fact that we are losing in a down year with the preseason players of the year on both offense and defense, and you’ve got a complete disaster.

An utter failure. Mike Sherman as the coach of A&M is an utter failure.

He isn’t someone who can coach up talent. He can’t recruit, and using Brett Favre as his pocket ace is a massive failure now that the Green Bay Golden Boy has retired three or four times in the last couple of months and sent out pictures of his miniscule dong to uninterested girls via MMS. In a down economy, people are pulling their donations and have no reason to keep giving. The program, once thought to be teetering on a dangerous edge, is now over the edge falling and falling and falling and will continue to fall until we get serious about having a football program.  Rumor is that donors are pulling back their donations in droves, and those connected to the program (possibly named Richard and/or Tim) are telling people they were never really on board with this hire in the first place.  They think he needs to be gone, but we still have that $7.2m we promised him to deal with.

Are we ready to be serious yet? Under the last two coaches, we are 45-46 right now. We haven’t won a bowl game under two straight coaches. What does it take for A&M to want to win again? Is this our standard now?

I expect to win. An athletic department with a $70m budget must win in football, and I don’t mean by going .500 which we’ll be lucky to do over the last decade. There’s no excuse, and until you get a coach in here that understands what it takes to win at the collegiate level we’re going to continue this same fall. But what’s the constant? What has been in place thru two different coaches with two different styles and two different crowds of people?

The change has to start at the very top of this shit food triangle. The Cozening Beast must be vanquished, as it’s under his watch that we’ve slipped to depths that even the biggest Aggie hater couldn’t dream. We are a joke, and the CB doesn’t mind nor does he demand accountability. What does he do when noises from the masses arise? He defends his decision to give a fully loaded contract to a head coach who has never been a head coach at this level before, doesn’t like to recruit, and can’t pull in donations to cover expenses. How much more can we take, Aggies?

What will it take for you to stand up and tell the people running your school that you have had enough, and that every single embarrassing loss devalues our brand to the point where it’s not even funny anymore? The passion behind all of our traditions is all but dead, and you have to go out and get a new breath of life in here before it’s too late.

Stand up, Aggies. If we are going to keep on this path, we might as well just stop the program. It’s wasting resources to continue like this. We either get serious about football, or we stop trying. Right now, Texas A&M is not serious about football. 

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3 comments on “How Much More Can We Take?

  1. Bill Byrne and Mike Sherman bring tears to my Aggies eyes; much like litter on the side of a highway brings tears to an Indian’s eyes.

  2. So, A.F. (After Fran), which ol’ ball coach could have done more with what was on hand and what he could recruit?

    Which recruits that we chased and lost would have changed their minds?

    Which recruits would have knocked on our door, unlooked for?

    First rule of holes.

  3. Your article is very funny and entertaining. Grains of truth sprinkled throughout. Let’s give the guy some time. It doesn’t take a genius to understand you can’t turn around an empty program in two years. Unless you’re a basketball-only fan you notice there is improvement across the board….except at special teams. you got me there.

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