Sherman - A Gracious Exit

After four seasons as the Texas A&M head coach, Mike Sherman was unceremoniously fired on Thursday while on a recruiting trip. On Friday, Sherman faced the media one more time and showed everybody that even in the face of adversity, he remained gracious and stayed above the fray despite the controversial manner of his termination.

Mike Sherman is a symbol of what is missing in this society today...that regardless of the circumstances and the hand that is dealt you, people can still act with class and dignity. You don't always have to exit stage left by shoving your middle finger in someone's face. You don't have to get the last word on a message board or make a profanity-riddled twitter post. You don't have to lower yourself to the level of others.

Hey, this "business" is about wins and losses, and if a coach doesn't win enough he will be asked to leave. I understand that. But a loyal coach can be asked to leave in a dignified manner. He can still be treated with respect even if he did not meet expectations on the football field.

Yes, the decision to fire a coach should be based on wins and losses, but just because wins are the most important aspect of a coach's performance doesn't mean you can't acknowledge the many good things the man brought to Texas A&M and this program. We can thank him for caring about his players and treating them as young men instead of a disposable cog in the machine called football. We can thank him for treating fans, students, university staff, and media with respect and providing a dignified image every single day he wore the Texas A&M logo. We can thank him for his honest, sincere love for this university and its traditions. We can thank him for being an honorable man in a "business" where honor is becoming the exception and not the rule.

When I'm old and gray and I look back on the many years of Aggie sports that I have witnessed, I will remember the incredible triumphs on the field and I'll remember the heartbreaking disappointment. I will remember those special moments and how I experienced those moments personally as they happened whether it is charging the court after Acie's buzzer beater against Texas, or as a student literally rolling down the Kyle Field ramp in celebration after the 1985 42-10 win over Texas for A&M's first Cotton Bowl berth in 17 years, or the 9-run ninth inning in 1989 and Big John's two game-winning homeruns as No. 1 A&M swept No. 3 Texas, or running shirtless in downtown St. Louis after Sirr Parker hit the pylon, and of course the bonfire game.

There are other moments I do remember, but when it comes down to it, as you get older you forget most of it all and the results fade into a record book that I occasionally revisit from time-to-time to refresh my memory.

Hell yeah I want to win. On game day, I want to beat the crap out of every opponent and earn scoreboard on every team and university Texas A&M plays. But when you get older and the many wins and losses pile up so high you start to lose track, it's the special memories you recall the most. Sure, most of those memories revolve around great wins and triumphs. Yes, I do want to win to experience more of those triumphs. But after the clock strikes zero, the season ends, the celebrations are over, and we've analyzed the performance from every angle, the season fades away except for those special moments...moments you hold dear...moments that make all of the heartbreaks and disappointments along the way tolerable.

Twenty years from now, the four year tenure of Mike Sherman will likely be nothing more than a footnote and a page in the Aggie football history books. I'm sure there will be more memories to stick in my brain along the way, and I'm excited to experience those in the future.

And when I'm on my last legs and it's time to look over my lifetime of experiences and I get to the chapter on Aggie sports memories, I can promise you that one of the greatest memories will be a simple press conference from December 2, 2011 when an unassuming head coach mesmerized an auditorium of press and staff members with his grace and dignity. In the process, he showed me that honor and respect is still alive in this world of instant gratification and "show me the money" mentality. You can demand excellence on the field, but still acknowledge and admire grace and dignity off the field and in everyday life. Some fans seem to think those are two mutually exclusive events.

But on this day, I was moved and inspired. Not by a 40-inch vertical leap or a one-handed catch. Not by a 4.32 forty time or a tooth-rattling quarterback sack. Not by a win over a Top 10 team. I was moved by a man doing something that each and every one of us could do on a daily basis, and that is to be gracious and dignified under any circumstance and in every situation.

Mike Sherman is an honorable man, and I will not forget the grace and dignity he showed today under incredible circumstances.

Mike Sherman is an honorable man who showed all of us that civility in its simplest form is still possible in our society.

Mike Sherman is an honorable man and he inspired me to be a better person today.

Mike Sherman is an honorable man. Thank you, sir.


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