Was once the coach of the Texas Christian football team, but left for The University of Alabama after the 2000 regular season because the Crimson Tide offered him more money. Moreover, the Tide's program is in the high-profile Southeastern Conference; his former team, the Horned Frogs, are in the middle-of-the-pack Conference USA. Franchione can be appropriately described as an upwardly-mobile coach.

Franchione left for Alabama in December of 2000 after taking TCU to a 10-1 record, leaving the team to play in the Mobile Bowl without his guidance. (TCU lost that game to the University of Southern Mississippi.) Some in the TCU community might find Franchione's quick departure to be disloyal, but getting a job at Alabama is nothing to sneeze at.

May 30, 2002 update:

Franchione's first season at Alabama was up-and-down. The Crimson Tide went 6-5 in the regular season; better than under the previous coach, but not by much.

However, there were a couple of positive signs:
  • Alabama won a bowl game, defeating Iowa State.
  • Alabama kicked the crap out of arch-rival Auburn, 31-7. That made 'Bama fans very happy.
  • Alabama beat Southern Mississippi 14-13, gaining revenge on a team that embarrassingly beat Alabama 21-0 the previous year at Alabama's home stadium.

So, all in all, things are looking up for Franchione in Tuscaloosa, AL.

February 1, 2003 update:

Ooops! Things aren't looking up in Tuscaloosa anymore! Though Alabama did have a good season in 2003, finishing 10-3, Franchione bolted for Texas A&M University. That's three teams in four years, for you scoring at home. His priority job at TAMU: Beat Texas, dammit!
The latest chapter in the Coach Fran story involves his departure at the University of Alabama in favor of what he must have considered a more promising job at Texas A&M.

Rumors of Fran's departure and Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum's departure spread quickly during the week of Alabama's last game against the University of Hawaii. Originally, Fran denied all rumors and said very adamantly that he had no intention of leaving.

Slocum did, in fact, get the axe in early december and a about a week later (on December 10th, to be exact) Fran boarded a private jet registered to a wealthy texan (NOT Texas A&M, mind you).

Franchione would not return to Tuscaloosa. He accepted the job that afternoon and sent for his family. As opposed to talking with his players and University of Alabama administration, he asked his assistant coaches to do his dirty work.

News surfaced after the fact that Fran had an exemption in his contract at TCU that allowed him to leave and take the A&M job, should it become available.

This was not small potatoes in Tuscaloosa, where The Tide was in the middle of NCAA Sanctions for alleged recruiting violations.

When the sanctions were handed down, Fran encouraged (some would say begged) the players not to leave. The NCAA gave them an opportunity to transfer without sitting out for a year (which is mandatory in other circumstances). Fran used words like 'trust' and 'loyalty' when talking to the team in those pivotal days. A year later, and with players no longer allowed to transfer without penalty, Fran jumped at the first job offer that came his way.

It was also frowned upon that he did not come back to address his players personally.

While originally public opinion in the world of College Football seemed to be behind Fran's move, it quickly shifted as the weight of Fran's departure became more obvious.

Ivan Miasel of ESPN.com closed an article about the fiasco with the line: "In Franchione's first meeting with his players, he will ask for their commitment. He better hope they don't read the papers."

And that about sums up this chapter of the Coach Fran Story.

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