December 05, 2002

Completely Snookered.: The University of Alabama's Dennis Franchione will accept a deal for $10-11 million to become Texas A&M's football coach, while RC Slocum will move to a 'special advising' position. This is a smart move, considering Alabama is scandal plagued and under probation. However, what is causing a major meltdown among Alabama fans is that while Fran preaches Loyalty, Accountabilty, and Trust to his players (who all decided not to tranfer after probation hit, although given the option to); he lied for the last few weeks about "signing the Alabama contract as soon as the season was over" and explicitly denied A&M rumors. The administration, asst. coaches, and players believed him until he boarded a one-way plane today. Insider sites have multiple reports from the players that Fran did not (and has still not) address the team before leaving, and were broken the news by the Co-ordinators this afternoon. Current (weak) rumors have players going through the athletic complex and tearing down all pictures of Fran.

posted by Stan Chin to football at 08:38 PM - 14 comments

Yes, this is the team I follow, excuse the bias, but the good thing is that I've been following this story. Before this came about, many Alabama fans truly believed this man was the second coming of Bear Bryant. There was a very extensive hoopla during the LSU game last month when Fran was shown leaning up against the goalposts "just like Bryant did." This simple act was talked about and praised for weeks. No really, I'm serious. The major forums are under meltdown mode at the moment. The Alabama Student Senate unaminously passed this resolution today. Former Alabama player John Croyle (who's son Brodie is the highly-regarded star sophmore QB) said on the radio: "Coach Fran asked all those boys to hold onto the rope," he said, referring to the team's slogan in 2001. "They did and he let go and left." Several top-ranked recruits have pulled out of their commitments today. Since Alabama was blindsided, Athletic Director Mal Moore doesn't even have a list of potential coaching candidates.

posted by Stan Chin at 08:53 PM on December 05, 2002

Yet another shining example of integrity in high-level corporate dealings. Kudos to Mr Franchione.

posted by worldcup2002 at 08:58 PM on December 05, 2002

Much better article just released on by Ivan Maisel.

posted by Stan Chin at 09:31 PM on December 05, 2002

Career decisions are a thing you just have to be greedy about -- i.e., you have to think of yourself first. It's the only way to make them; you can't live your life to make other people happy instead of yourself. But there's no excuse for lying to the community that's supported you and helped you succeed. And leaving without facing -- and acknowledging, not to mention thanking -- the people you've abandoned is cowardly, and disgusting. Fucking prick.

posted by ajax at 11:01 PM on December 05, 2002

excuse the bias It's sports, man. I'll take a good post over an even-handed approach anyday.

posted by yerfatma at 07:26 AM on December 06, 2002

And I thought coaching foorball at Alabama was one of those "jewel" positions, much like coaching basketball at Kentucky or North Carolina. Sigh, I suppose Bama will be going after Frank Beamer again.

posted by trox at 08:15 AM on December 06, 2002

I feel for the players, who had been told to stick around, not knowing any better than to not look at any college head coach with more than a little skepticism. However, the Alabama program overall (admin./boosters) won't find much sympathy here, as continuity is far, far down on the list of priorities for football. The 'Tide has sent at least three head coaches packing over the last 15 years -- in addition to Ray Perkins, who bolted for the Bucs -- which doesn't point to promising job security if you keep that particular position. Show some loyalty of your own if you want it in return, a lesson that coaches, players and administrators -- just one out of this R.C./A&M/Alabama/Fran "saga" -- might wanna pay attention to. That doesn't excuse Franchione's manner, but it's not exactly an uncommon tack with this guy. 'Bama knew what it was getting then and was happy. Don't start bitching now.

posted by jackhererra at 08:33 AM on December 06, 2002

from what i have heard, this was Mack Brown's MO as well, especially at UNC. it's one reason i don't pull for UT.

posted by Sean Meade at 11:13 AM on December 06, 2002

Looks like A&M had a really good week - firing a well-regarded and successful coach and replacing him with, well, a successful coach who used to be well-regarded. I wonder if A&M recruits will trust Franchione's word, not just about whether he'll stick around, but in terms of playing time, positions, etc. This really stinks.

posted by thescoop at 11:32 AM on December 06, 2002

trox: note that those jewel positions are never a whole lot of fun. Watch what the Kentucky fans are currently doing to Tubby Smith (he's won only one national championship, which isn't enough) or what the UNC fans were doing to Matt Doherty (also only one national title for UNC) last year. Or watch what UCLA has done to every coach of theirs since Wooten. The jewel positions in college sports pay well and they make recruiting easy, but they're hell in every other way- the margin for error is absolutely zero.

posted by tieguy at 11:49 AM on December 06, 2002

tieguy, I undestand that totally, but doesn't every coach want such a challenge (at least until he blows one). What really gets me about this whole deal is that Franchione was only there for two seasons. Maybe the Tide should just hire RC Slocum.

posted by trox at 12:49 PM on December 06, 2002 Well that was certainly quick.

posted by Stan Chin at 03:00 PM on December 06, 2002

tieguy: I definitely don't remember Doherty coaching UNC to any soft of a national championship. Perhaps you were thinking of his predecessor?

posted by gyc at 05:20 PM on December 06, 2002

gyc: He won one as a player, as a teammate of that 'Jordan' guy. I'm not trying to claim that proves he's a good coach or anything, just that if fans at the glamour schools had much real loyalty to their own he'd get some slack for having been a starter on their first championship team since the 1950s. They certainly talked a lot about how wonderful that was when he was hired- it's not clear why that all got forgotten about when he was losing. FWIW, his predecessor won two as an assistant coach, and was a game away from another as head coach, and was also basically chased out of town. [Not that Duke will be any better- we nearly chased K out of town in the early 80s, and the first losing streak his successor goes on will be the cause of much gnashing of teeth.]

posted by tieguy at 10:08 AM on December 07, 2002

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