Sherman becomes Texas A&M coach

After weeks of speculation, Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne moved quickly on Monday, introducing Mike Sherman as the next head football coach for the Aggies. The announcement came just 72 hours after the resignation of former head coach Dennis Franchione. Aggie Websider reported live from the press conference and will have continued coverage throughout the week.

Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said he would begin a nationwide search for the next head coach on Friday after the Aggies' impressive 38-30 win against arch rival Texas.

It took him just three days and he only had to travel 90 miles to find Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman, who became the 28th head coach in Texas A&M football history.

"When I was at Texas A&M, I dreamed of being the head football coach of the Texas Aggies when RC (Slocum) was done," Sherman said. "When I went to Green Bay I dreamed of being the head coach of the Green Bay Packers and those are the only two teams that I ever wanted to be head coach of because I had a tremendous respect of the traditions and the history of the franchise at Green Bay and the fans of Texas A&M. i feel extremely blessed to be able to do that."

Sherman agreed to a seven-year deal with Texas A&M worth approximately $1.8 million per year. His predecessor, Dennis Franchione was making more than $2 million a year, but Sherman told Byrne that he didn't want to make as much so that he could hire the best staff possible.

"I really liked that about Mike," Byrne said.

Sherman is best known as the former head coach of the Green Bay Packers for six years from 2000 through the 2005 season, where he compiled a 57-39 record and assumed the general manager's role as well after the 2000 season. From 2001-2004, Sherman led the Packers to four straight winning seasons and three consecutive NFC Division Titles, which included back-to-back 12-4 seasons in 2001 and 2002. His .663 winning percentage (53-27) over his first five years was second only to the great Vince Lombardi in Packers history.

Under Sherman, the Packers offense set numerous team records, including producing two of the four highest-scoring seasons in franchise history. In 2003, Green Bay totaled 442 points, which was just 14 points shy of the franchise record of 456 set in the team's world championship season of 1996. Sherman 's offense followed that up with a 424-point season in 1994, which was good for fourth-best all-time.

In 2004, Green Bay under Sherman set team records with 6,357 total net yards and 4,449 net passing yards. That year, the team allowed only 14 sacks in 598 attempts, another franchise record. The 2003 squad ranks third in Packer history with 5,798 yards and set a franchise record for rushing yards with 2,558. Green Bay also set a franchise record by averaging 5.05 yards per rush attempt that year.

Prior to joining the Packers organization in 1997, Sherman spent seven seasons in College Station from 1989-1993 and 1995-1996 as offensive line coach under R.C. Slocum. He was briefly promoted to offensive coordinator after the 1996 season, but shortly took the tight end coach position with the Packers prior to the 1997 campaign.

As offensive line coach at Texas A&M, Sherman led the Aggies' most prolific rushing attack in program history in 1990 with 3,829 yards behind the blocking of all-American OL Mike Arthur and all-American running back Darren Lewis. Under Sherman's direction, the offensive lines during his tenure opened holes for some of the greatest running backs in program history including Lewis, Greg Hill, Rodney Thomas, Leeland McElroy, and Dante Hall.

Noted linemen during his previous tenures in Aggieland include Arthur, Richmond Webb, John Ellisor, Keith Alex, Chris Dausin, Calvin Collins, Jason Mathews, Dexter Wesley, Hunter Goodwin, and Steve McKinney.

Sherman also had a year stint as offensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks under Mike Holmgren, and earlier in his career had college stops at UCLA (1994), Holy Cross (1985-1988), Tulane (1983-1984), and Pittsburgh (1981-1982). Sherman grew up in Massachusetts and graduated from Central Connecticut State where he played defensive end and offensive tackle.

Names of potential coordinators are already popping up, with former Texas A&M interim offensive coordinator and current OU passing game assistant coach Kevin Sumlin as a possibility on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, current Texans defensive backs coach Jon Hoke is a potential candidate. He followed Bob Stoops as defensive coordinator at Florida and helped Steve Spurrier to three consecutive New Year's Day bowl games from 1999-2001 with nationally-ranked defenses each season. Former defensive coordinator and father of the Wrecking Crew defense Bob Davie has been mentioned as well, possibly trading in his announcer's microphone for a sideline headset.

Sherman brings a wealth of knowledge on the west coast offense, learned from long-time mentor Mike Holmgren. His 12 years as a coach and general manager in the NFL along with his 15 years in the college ranks gives Sherman a unique blend of pro and college experience, and his extensive contacts and networks will serve him well as he builds what is expected to be a high-powered staff at Texas A&M.

Look for Sherman to compliment his experience with several younger position coaches with a recruiting focus in the major metropolitan areas of Texas, especially Houston, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and the fertile recruiting areas of east Texas.

It is expected that Sherman will finish out his duties with the Texans, although he will be actively filling out his staff and solidifying the current Texas A&M recruiting class that was nearly complete under departing coach Dennis Franchione.

Current defensive coordinator Gary Darnell was named interim head coach for the upcoming bowl game (likely the Alamo Bowl), and it's expected that the existing staff will work with Sherman to hold on to the current commitments in the 2008 class.

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