BELIEVE, IT'S TIME!!!!
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: A little here, a little there . . .
Gig'em Coach Fran
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Coach Fran era officially began Friday at Texas A&M with the introduction of new Aggies coach Dennis Franchione.
"It's an exciting time to be here because of the commitment we have to compete at the highest level,'' Franchione said during a morning news conference.
Franchione agreed to a five-year deal with A&M worth nearly $10 million, the San Antonio Express-News reported Friday. An A&M source told The Dallas Morning News that the deal was worth $1.75 million a year for five years, making him the third-highest paid college football coach.
Franchione said he jumped at the chance to take the coaching job at Texas A&M left vacant when R.C. Slocum was fired because of his roots in the state.
"I've always had a keen feeling and interest in this university at Texas A&M and the way they handle themselves, the type of people and program and university that they have,'' Franchione told Dallas-Fort Worth radio station WBAP. "It just worked out, and I felt it was a good fit for me, so here it is.''
Franchione returns to Texas after leading the Crimson Tide to a 10-3 finish this season. However, the team was not bowl eligible because of NCAA sanctions for infractions before his arrival. Before Alabama, Franchione went 25-11 at TCU from 1998 to 2000.
Franchione leaves a contract at Alabama that ran through 2007 and was worth $1.1 million per season plus incentives. Alabama offered Franchione a 10-year deal reportedly worth $15 million, for an annual raise of about $400,000.
A&M board of regents chairman Erle Nye said he celebrated with school president Robert Gates and other regents Thursday when they learned that Franchione would join the Aggies.
"We think he's special,'' Nye said. "We think he brings some new perspective to add to a really strong program. I think (change) is healthy. Testing new ideas and having new perspectives is good.''
Franchione's hiring ends a busy week at A&M that started Monday with Slocum's dismissal. The Aggies finished a 6-6 season last week with a 50-20 loss to Texas.
Tuesday, A&M hired former Nebraska athletic director Bill Byrne to replace Wally Groff, who was asked to resign.
Nye praised Slocum for handing his successor a clean, well-run program.
"We made great strides under Coach Slocum,'' Nye said. "R.C. brought us all this, and I think Coach Fran will do the same and we will go forward.''
Earlier in the week there were signs that Franchione was on his way out of Alabama. He canceled speaking engagements Wednesday night in Columbus, Ga., and Thursday in Montgomery, Ala.
The departure shocked Alabama players and fans, and athletic director Mal Moore, who hired Franchione two years ago.
"It's a shock to all of us, of course, a great loss,'' Moore said.
Tailback Ahmaad Galloway said the Tide players "are extremely hurt, about as hurt as you can be.''
"A lot of guys paid the price and stayed here, but Coach Fran had a decision to make,'' said Galloway, a senior. "It's a decision that I can never understand or anybody else. When we all lay our heads down at night, we just pray that he made the best decision.''
“ (We) are extremely hurt, about as hurt as you can be. A lot of guys paid the price and stayed here, but Coach Fran had a decision to make. ”
— Alabama tailback Ahmaad Galloway on Franchione's departure