Are we done with the Mike Sherman pity party yet? If you think so, then ignore this rant. And yes, this is a rant. I was incredibly annoyed by the amount of whining following the firing of Mike Sherman, and it has taken me a matter of weeks to fully digest the information and form an opinion (albeit still a harsh one).
I would like to start by praising Sherman for who he is and what he did for our University. By all accounts he is a phenomenal person who truly cared about our University and molding his players into better men. He was a man of integrity who ran our program with humility and sensibility. He rejuvenated our talent base with multiple fantastic recruiting hauls and installed a productive spread offense. I don’t believe anyone who ever crossed paths with the man had a single negative comment to report.
But you know what Sherman didn’t do? Win football games. Okay, he did win a few important ones (I will never forget the Nebraska win last year at Kyle Field), but he choked when it mattered most – this year. We entered 2011 as a top-10 team and a Big 12 title contender. Where did we end up? In the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Plain and simple, that is a failure of a season.
When you are expected to win football games and you don’t… there are consequences. When expectations are sky-high, consequences are also sky-high. We had an extremely talented team, yet threw away leads like it was our job. Somebody has to take the blame. And more often than not the blame SHOULD fall on the man cashing the million dollar paychecks. With money like that on the line, responsibility is to be assumed. Was it unfortunate that Sherman’s firing was leaked to the media before he even heard the news? Absolutely! He deserved to leave in a respectable fashion. But regardless, he deserved to leave. Sherman had a job, and he didn’t perform. I am sure he is regretful, but understands why it ended this way. Let’s not waste all of our tears and moans over a man who gets fired and is still owed anywhere between 5-8 MILLION DOLLARS.
This post is in no way meant to attack Sherman’s character. But the man was brought to Texas A&M to win football games. That is what you hire a head coach to do. Win football games. There are obviously a large amount of college football coaches who win football games in a corrupt fashion – I am not asking for that. I do not want a corrupt program at the cost of winning football games. What I am saying is that our goal should not be to find the nicest man possible and give him what could be the most important job at our University. Our goal should be to hire a man who respects the game, the university, and the rules AND can win the big one.
I feel as if many Aggie fans are stuck in a delusional world where they think that Texas A&M is a premiere (meaning top 15-20) national program. It is not. Our success in the 80’s and 90’s has run its course. College football moves in cycles and ours is over. UT won a national championship and established itself as a national power. That is exactly why they can ride these years of mediocrity and still get the national acclaim that they do. If they don’t turn it around in the next couple of years, they will feel the effects. And the Longhorn Network will become a timeless joke that we can all tell our kids about (I personally think it will be, regardless of the Longhorns’ success). It doesn’t matter that the Texas A&M Aggies have been better than the Longhorns for the past 2 years (and yes, regardless of the scoreboard, if your starting quarterbacks are David Ash and Case McCoy, the Aggies are the better team), the rest of the nation doesn’t care yet. It takes time to prove yourself on the football field. We took a huge step last year; then took five massive steps back this year. That situation cannot happen when you are swimming in a sea of mediocrity. We don’t have time for such things. And that ultimately means Sherman had to go.
In the midst of this delusional mindset, Aggies think that every losing season is an unfortunate blip on the radar screen. We coddle ourselves with the comforting notion of, “oh, but our University is full of integrity and everything else that is good and wholesome, our coach is a great man who understands our University.” Maybe it is, but the rest of the world doesn’t care about hearing that. 90% of the schools in America are going to make that very same claim.
We absolutely have the resources, the support, and the potential to be in the national elite. That is why when catastrophes like this season occur things need to change. They need to change from the top down. And if that means we have to fire our “coach of integrity,” then so be it. Move on, wish Sherman the best, and rally behind our next coaching project. Mike Sherman has 5-8 million reasons why he doesn’t need a pity party.