Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How far they fall.

The last we saw of Dennis Franchione was his resigning after beating the Aggies' arch rival Texas.

What's been happening since then?

The Kansas City had an interesting write up on the fallen star here

I think the article is a bit more scathing that necessary but it's interesting. I was never a Fran hater. The guy tried and it wasn't like he didn't deserve the reputation as a program rebuilder. He had moderate success at New Mexico which built into huge momentum at TCU. If anything he deserves some credit for allowing the little guys to get credit by having some great success at TCU. You can't blame a guy for taking a higher salary at a more prestigious school (Let it go WVU... Let it go.) So when Alabama came calling you can't blame a guy for taking the option.

Fran after a Tide win

After some serious NCAA sanctions Fran decided to head to Texas A&M which was where he stated several times that "he wanted that to be the last stop."

He was handed an undisciplined, less than talented team upon arriving in College Station (a 77-0 walloping by OU testified to that.) In year three it got better. They beat some good teams Oklahoma State and Clemson but left you scratching your head with a loss to Baylor and blowouts to Utah and Tennessee. Year four was underwhelming but ended on a high note as backup and future QB Stephen McGee had a spirited performance against eventual National Champion Texas.

Year five rolled around and it appeared to be now or never time. After a good year but not great at 8-3, Fran and the Aggies pulled of a miracle for the coach's future by upsetting a ranked Texas team. A 9-3 regular wasn't fireable, despite another butt kicking in the Holiday Bowl by California.

2007 opened up optimistically as the Ags were ranked and supposedly stocked up with talent on a Senior laden team. A Thursday night date with Miami was supposed to be a coming out party, but was instead a flub to the tune of 34-17.

The next week was the beginning of the end. Fran was caught selling a $1,200 secret newsletters to elite alums that wanted recruiting and practice inside info. In actuality, this wasn't a big deal. Boneheaded, but not a big deal. Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech has done similar things for years without it being mentioned.

For the most part, the newsletter was swept under the rug, as it should have been. It wasn't a big deal and it was fairly innocent. Just win and people will forget.

Well Fran didn't win. He got blown out by Texas Tech. Kansas won at Kyle Field. Oklahoma stomped them again. Mizzou beat them soundly. It seemed no matter what the outcome was of the Texas game he was done.

Unfortunately for Fran, a big win in the Aggies most complete game over Texas didn't do it. He resigned immediately after the game. To add salt in an open wound, proverbial toolbait, Jack Arute asked him if he was fired less than thirty seconds after the game in the post-game on the field interview. You could see pain in his eyes as he couldn't even answer some of the questions.

You knew he was done.

Was the firing fair?

Yes. He had 5 years at a school with big money and the record wasn't what it should have been.

Could it have worked out?

Maybe. It really seemed the last two years that Fran didn't want to lose this job and tried his heart out to keep it. Insiders say that he was at work early and left late every day. He gave almost a year's salary to the indoor practice facilty. They also say he was passionate. Outside of his first year, Fran kept the program clean. While Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State players were out having legal escapades and NCAA infractions, Fran kept the Aggies in a good light for the better part of 4 years.

Those didn't equate to wins. Unfortunately that's all people want to see in this business.

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