A&M, ISU paying the price
Irony filled Big 12 Media Days on Monday. Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman was followed to the podium by Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads.
Two schools paying the price for goofy decisions.
After the 2002 season, A&M decided R.C. Slocum had coached the Aggies long enough. Slocum in 14 seasons went 123-47-2 with no losing seasons. A&M played solid defense, oft-boring offense and routinely beat Texas and Oklahoma.
In the six years since, A&M is 36-36. The Aggies already have fired Dennis Franchione, who went 32-28 in five forgettable years, and now have turned to Sherman, whose second Aggie squad is picked last in the Big 12 South.
But the Slocum decision appears enlightened compared to Iowa State.
The Cyclones have been to nine bowl games in their history. Five came under Dan McCarney.
McCarney arrived as ISU’s head coach in 1995; he went 13-42 his first five years. And the Cyclones stuck with him. It was one of the great displays of patience ever seen in college football.
And it paid off. Iowa State’s next six seasons included five bowl trips. Iowa State went 9-3 in 2000 and won seven games four of the next five years. But in 2006, Iowa State fell to 4-8 and fired McCarney.
All that goodwill, all that patience, down the drain. I was stunned. If OU had fired Bob Stoops after the bowl loss to Florida, it wouldn’t have been as surprising as Iowa State firing the only coach who established sustained success.
In the Cyclones’ two years under Gene Chizik, they went 3-9 and 2-10. And the prospects under Rhoads don’t seem any brighter.
Two programs. Two disastrous coaching decisions. Two successful coaches fired because they didn’t win enough. Let it be a lesson learned for the rest of the Big 12 and all of college football.
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