How Hot Is Slocum's Seat?

If Texas A&M head coach <B>R.C. Slocum </b>loses to arch-rival Texas for the fourth time in five years Friday and finishes the season 6-6, is he outta here? Or did the win over Oklahoma, plus the fact that the athletic directorship is in transition (AD <B>Wally Groff </b>steps down December 31), plus Slocum's overall won-loss record (enviable to at least 100 Division I-A schools) add up to buying the 14<SUP>th</sup>-year coach another season in Aggieland?

These are Slocum's thoughts:

"Unfortunately in every program there is a vocal group of people -- and with the Internet medium these days and with radio -- they create a lot of noise. It's a distraction to our players and coaches. But it's part of the game, and I accept that. I've been in coaching 35 years and I don't spend a lot of time worrying about that.

"People can make an argument for whatever case they're trying to make.

The people who are your critics change from week to week regardless of how you play. There are some that, no matter how you play, or how you did, they're still your critics.

"I look around at other programs and I see that (Penn State coach) Joe Paterno had back-to-back losing seasons but he came back this year to have a winning season. (Kansas State coach) Bill Snyder was 6-6 last year and he came back and had a good season. No one is immune, but I'm not one to sit around in agony because some guy on the Internet said this or said that. I don't have time for that."

No, but it's not Internet chat room patrons that affect the temperature on any coach's seat. Nope, the thermostat is in the palms of the powerful alumni who can afford those stadium suites renting for in excess of $65,000 per season. These are the ones (rather than Joe Six-Pack standing in line for a beer at the alumni center) who have the ear of university regents and athletic directors. And, in some cases, university presidents.

When the president of the university (Robert Gates) fires your boss (Groff), and your boss has been your biggest ally, it does not bode well for your job security. Do you think university presidents base their decisions on chat room fodder? (Assuming, of course, that an Aggie knows how to access a website).

No, no, no! The fat cats lighting the bonfire under Slocum's ass aren't looking at websites; they are looking at that multi-million dollar, end zone expansion project at Kyle Field where the team lost four-of-six home games this season. They are looking at Texas and Oklahoma programs that are leaving the Farmers farther in the dust with each passing recruiting class.

Ultimately, the eyes of Texas A&M are upon Slocum. He is an otherwise class act and appears to have run a clean program relative to his predecessor. It's just that, lately, he has been making Mack Brown and Mike Leach look like Bob Stoops.

And in his business, humility is just a week away.

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