Sherman is the right guy for the job

After reading about the possibility of Steve Spurrier coming to Aggieland, some were disappointed with the Mike Sherman announcement on Monday. But was Spurrier really a more qualified candidate or was he just the bigger name? Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp takes a look at both Spurrier and Sherman's resume.

While Turkeys were meeting their maker and green bean casseroles were baking in the oven last week, internet message boards were abuzz about South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier making the move to Aggieland.

A&M fans remembered the days of "The Old Ball Coach" pacing the sideline at The Swamp as the Gators ran off one championship season after another. It sounded as though "The Visor" was going to be announced as the Aggies' new head coach and fans had something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. It was even rumored by some media outlets that a formal offer was on the table and Spurrier was to accept or reject the deal by Monday.

Sure enough, when Monday rolled around, Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne announced that a decision had been reached regarding the new head coach at Texas A&M, but instead of Spurrier, Byrne announced that Houston Texans Offensive Coordinator and former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman—an announcement that was not immediately received very well on A&M message boards after so much anticipation surrounding Spurrier.

But was Spurrier really a stronger candidate than Sherman or is it just a matter of perception? Was it Spurrier's resume or his name that had Aggie fans so much more excited about the hire?

Sure he had an incredible run at Florida from 1990-2001, where he won two SEC division titles, six SEC titles and one national title in 12 years. Where he finished in the top-10 nine times in 12 years—five of which were top-five finishes. Where he was named SEC Coach of the Year five times.

Not bad.

But in this "what have you done for me lately" college football world that we live in today, it's surprising that Spurrier received so much more fanfare.

In his three years at South Carolina, Spurrier has failed to show any substantial improvement from one year to the next, posting a 7-5 record in 2005 and an 8-5 record in 2006 before falling to 6-6 this year—including a five-game losing streak to finish the season. It was the first time in Spurrier's career that he lost five consecutive games.

Over the last two years, Spurriers's Gamecocks have failed to finish above .500 in SEC play, posting a 3-5 record in each of the last two seasons. That's worse than A&M's 5-3 and 4-4 records in conference play that led to the departure of Dennis Franchione.

Meanwhile Sherman has served as an assistant or head football coach at the highest levels (Division I NCAA or NFL) for the past 19 years, during which time he's posted just four losing seasons, including last year's 6-10 finish as the offensive coordinator for the Texans, which were horrible before he and Kubiak arrived in 2006.

And believe it or not, Sherman and Houston's staff have actually put the Texans in a position where they may finish above .500 this year for the first time in franchise history.

But as Sherman said himself, he's not worried about winning, he wants to win championships, which, like Spurrier, he's got plenty of experience with.

Sherman was part of three Southwest Conference championship teams during his first stint as an assistant coach at Texas A&M from 1989-1993. He won two NFC North division titles as an assistant coach at Green Bay under Mike Holmgren, including the Packers' 1997 division championship squad that lost to Denver in the Super Bowl.

Yes, he's coached in the Super Bowl—the biggest football event of the year.

As a head coach, Sherman is just as successful, winning three NFC North division titles in his first four years as a head coach in Green Bay and posting nine or more wins in each of his first five seasons as a head coach at any level.

Sherman also spent five years as the Green Bay General Manager and/or Executive Vice President in addition to his head coaching duties, which means he spent four years scouting, evaluating and drafting college football players. You think NFL hopefuls might be impressed by that background when it comes time to pick a coach that can get them to "The League?"

Probably more so than Spurrier's NFL project that failed miserably with a combined two-year record of 12-20 with the Washington Redskins.

And everyone who's worked with Sherman can't stop talking about two things—his work ethic and his football mind. He's a master at the X's and O's of the game and he is not limited to one style or system.

In 2003 the Packers set a team record for rushing yards with 2,558, including Ahman Green's franchise-record 1,883 rushing yards. But in 2004 the Packers set team records with 6,357 total net yards and 4,449 net passing yards while allowing just 14 sacks in 598 attempts—another team record.

That ain't bad either.

The only legitimate question surrounding Sherman is seems to be whether or not he's capable of returning to the college game after spending nearly 11 years in the NFL. Will he be able to recruit against the likes of Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Texas' Mack Brown and LSU's Les Miles?

But he didn't seem too worried about the task at hand on Monday, saying that he would hire great teachers to be a part of his staff so that he could focus on recruiting.

So while Sherman's hire may have given some A&M fans indigestion this Thanksgiving, buy a roll of Rolaids and relax. Byrne believes that Texas A&M's new head coach will give Aggies something to be much more thankful for than a name over Thanksgiving holidays to come—a football program that they can be proud of again.

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