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
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
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
.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.