Arkansas Texas A M Football

Sherman: ‘Do I feel I deserve to be terminated? No, I don’t’

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It wasn’t exactly as classless as learning you’d been fired on the way to your mother’s funeral, but the manner in which Mike Sherman‘s dismissal was handled by Texas A&M still left a bitter taste in the coach’s mouth.

Sherman was fired by the Aggies Thursday after four years on the job, and the coach confirmed rumors that he was fired by athletic director (for now) Bill Byrne over the phone as he was nearing the driveway of a recruit he was on the way to visit.  Sherman lamented the fact that “my family found out before I did, because it was released (through a leak in the media) before I was told. I think we’re better than that.”

In his four years with the Aggies, Sherman compiled a 25-25 record, but it was the final 6-6 season that led to his abrupt demise.  Sherman and the Aggies came into this season with high expectations — too high from this vantage point — ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press‘ preseason poll.  Six losses later, including a handful of embarrassing second-half collapses after building double-digit leads in the first half, too many question marks littered the football program ahead of its move to the SEC.

Despite the disappointingly below-average season, Sherman said he believed he deserved the opportunity to continue building the program.  Additionally, he decried the current culture of changing things instead of fixing them and the immediacy society demands.

“Do I feel I deserve to be terminated? No, I don’t,” he said. “I think this program is headed in the right direction. But I understand we live in a society where it’s easier to change than to fix. … We live in a society today that is motivated by anonymous people that write baseless texts and twitters and it gets things stirred up. There’s no accountability to that type of society, and the immediacy they request.

“I think it’s important that people make decisions based on facts, and what’s real. I think sometimes that gets skewed a bit. But I feel like the program is definitely headed in the right direction and I hope the next coach appreciates the opportunity he’s going to get to work with these players and I’ll support him however I can. Because I want to see A&M be successful.”

As far as a replacement for Sherman, who hinted that he could be headed back to the NFL as the next step in his coaching career, all of the signs are pointing southeast of College Station as the starting point in the search.  As Ben noted earlier this evening, it has been reported that Arizona State has ended its pursuit of Houston’s Kevin Sumlin.  This news comes a day after it was reported that ASU had officially offered the job to Sumlin, which CFT and other outlets were told was not the case.  However, CFT has been told by a source with knowledge of the situation that the pursuit was dropped because the Sun Devils, even with the newly-minted money the Pac-12’s television contract brings to the conference’s members, would be unable to get “into a bidding war” with the Aggies for Sumlin’s services.

Whether the Aggies will be able to pry Sumlin away from the Cougars remains to be seen.  One way or the other, the answer to that question should come in the days following UH’s appearance in the Conference USA title game Saturday.

Reportedly transferring from Vols, Ray Raulerson confirms he’s ‘exploring options’

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Thursday, reports surfaced that two Tennessee offensive linemen would be leaving the Volunteers football program and possibly transferring to the FCS level.  Friday, one of those two confirmed he’s looking into it.

Speaking to The Knoxville News Sentinel, Ray Raulerson acknowledged that he’s “exploring options right now,” although he stopped short of confirming a transfer.  However, the redshirt sophomore center talked of his time in Knoxville in the past tense, an indication that he is prepared to move on.

“I’m exploring options right now,” Raulerson told the News Sentinel. “…I really loved it at Tennessee, but I’m going to go to a place where I have a better chance to play.”

Raulerson was a three-star member of UT’s 2014 recruiting class.  After redshirting as a true freshman, he played in five games in 2015.

It has yet to be confirmed that the other lineman, fifth-year senior tackle Dontavius Blair, is indeed transferring.  Raulerson, though, told the newspaper that his teammate is leaving as well.

Clemson tables proposal that would’ve had students paying for some football tickets

CLEMSON, SC - AUGUST 31: Clemson Tigers fans celebrate at the start of the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Students at Clemson can rest easy; your football fix will still be free of charge this year.

In 2015, tickets for the student sections in both the lower bowl and upper bowl of Memorial Stadium came at no cost to those enrolled in classes at the university.  In April, however, athletic director Dan Radakovich proposed levying what was described as a “$225 student donation” for those wishing to sit in the lower bowl on season tickets, while the upper bowl seats would remain free.

Late this past week, tigernet.com reported, Radakovich’s proposal was tabled as the university will “continue to have good conversations with student leaders about the entire ticketing process.”

So, for the 2016 football season, tickets in both bowls will come at no cost to students.  As was the case last year, all of those tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

It wasn’t all good news financially for Clemson students — or their parents — as The State news paper writes that “[t]he university’s board of trustees voted almost unanimously via teleconference Thursday to raise tuition rates for the 2016-17 year for in-state and out-of-state students.”

Separation of UCLA coach Jim Mora, wife of 30-plus years announced in a statement

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins greets players after a third quarter UCLA touchdown against the BYU Cougars at the Rose Bowl on September 19, 2015 in Pasadena, California.  UCLA won 24-23.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Unfortunately, the private life of a major college football coach has once again become laid bare for public consumption.

In a statement released Friday, the agent for UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Jimmy Sexton, released a statement confirming that his client and his wife, Shannon, have decided to separate.  The couple have been married for more than 30 years, and have four children — one daughter and three sons.

“After much thought and careful consideration, Jim and Shannon Mora have decided to separate,” the statement from Sexton began. “This was a very difficult decision and they appreciate the respect for their family’s privacy at this time.”

The 54-year-old Mora will be entering his fifth season as the head coach of the Bruins.  Earlier this month, UCLA announced that Mora, 37-16 in his first four seasons with the Bruins, had reached an agreement on a two-year contract extension with the university.

There was no specific word on whether any type of raise was involved in the new agreement, which keeps Mora signed through the 2021 season.

Entire Penn State staff on receiving end of new two-year contracts

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 27:  Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions hugs a police officer after defeating the Boston College Eagles in the 2014 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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Earlier this year, James Franklin saw a pair of key assistant coaches leave his Penn State staff for other jobs.  Fast-forward a few months, and the head coach’s athletic department is looking to provide the program a little more staff stability.

Speaking to area reporters earlier this week, Franklin revealed that every member of his nine-man coaching staff received new two-year contracts this offseason.  Not only that, but other members of the football staff received new deals as well.

“Our entire staff just this summer got (two)-year contracts,” Franklin said Thursday according to the Times Leader. “All of the assistants, their first contracts just ran out. And they all just signed multiple-year, guaranteed contracts. All the strength coaches did. All the administrators. Everybody.”

Arguably the best part, though, at least from Franklin’s point of view?  The new deals also addressed the buyout aspect of contracts, presumably making it harder for a Nittany Lion assistant to jump ship without some type of significant financial penalty.

“That’s really good from a stability standpoint. It’s helpful,” said the coach o the contracts, adding, “and what we did is, it’s both ways. They have the stability and protections, but we have buyouts as well.”

In January, Franklin watched as defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and offensive line coach Herb Hand leave for jobs at Tennessee and Auburn, respectively. And it’s not like the assistants left for promotions; rather, each of the moves involved was, at least in title, lateral ones.

The pay involved in those moves, however, is another matter entirely, something that, along with the buyouts, was likely addressed in the new deals. The financial particulars, though, have yet to be released, although that’s expected at some point in the next month or two.