Curtain Drops on Mike Sherman’s Final, Class Act

In remarks made today at press conference in College Station, Texas, former Texas A&M head football coach Mike Sherman said his family learned of his firing yesterday before he did.

(Full interview and transcript @ TexAgs.com)

When asked how he first found out about his ouster, Sherman said:

“I was on a recruiting trip going to a home visit to a great young man who’s going to be a phenomenal player at Texas A&M-I don’t think I can mention his name that this point. Great family. We were about almost in the driveway when I got a call from our athletic director [Bill Byrne] informing me of termination. It was disappointing to a degree because my family had the opportunity to find out before I did because it was released a little sooner than I was told, and that’s disappointing. Because I think we’re better than that.”

When later asked what he told his team after receiving the news of his departure from the school, Sherman said:

“I was disappointed on a couple fronts there, that it had leaked out previous to my own knowledge and my ability to sit down with my family. A football family is totally connected and they’re very defensive. I have five kids and they’re so protective of their dad and what’s said. I can handle anything, I don’t put a whole lot of stock in what’s said usually, because 90 percent of time it’s not true. But they are very protective of their dad and their husband. So I would have liked to have that opportunity, that they didn’t have to experience that on their own. I wish I’d have had an opportunity to tell the team before it was let out, but I didn’t, so we made the most of the situation.”

The news of Sherman’s firing was first leaked to longtime AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATEMAN columnist Kirk Bohls, who broke the news on Twitter.com.

Multiple sources familiar with Sherman’s ouster told SbB today that the person who leaked the news to Bohls was not current Texas A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne.

Sources also said the information provided to the Austin-based columnist emanated from someone close to - or a member of - the Texas A&M Board of Regents.

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Texas A&M’s Agg-tastic Letter To Football Recruit

The envelope of a letter recently sent to Texas A&M football recruit Colin Blake:

Texas A&M recruiting letter to Colin Blake

(Prime suspects)

Blake, who posted the photo of the envelope on his Facebook page, also added the comment, “The way they wrote my name is Raw!

I had Texas A&M football coach Mike Sherman pegged as a glitter guy myself.

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Speed Read: Celtics/Bulls Series An Instant Classic

April is the best month to be a sports fan, and last night was a classic example of why. It was a virtual buffet of scrumptious viewing options. And a really good buffet, too, like the ones you find in downtown Vegas where all the locals eat, not one of those lousy chain buffets where everything from the decor to the food is a monochrome tan color palette and seems to be from the 1970s. (I’m looking at you, Hometown Buffet.)

Paul Pierce

Case in point: Game 5 between the Celtics and the Bulls, which took an already great series into uncharted territory. With their backs to the wall and missing two of their Big Three (Kevin Garnett to injury and Ray Allen after fouling out with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter), Boston found a way to get past Chicago 106-104 in overtime. And that way was Paul Pierce, who made three straight jumpers in the final 77 seconds of OT to carry the Celtics to a 3-2 series lead.

Just how historic is this series? The two teams have set a record with three overtime games in one series - and there’s still as many as two games left to go. (And let’s be honest: anyone who isn’t a Boston fan has to want this to go to seven games.) Bob Ryan of the BOSTON GLOBE believes it’s the best No. 2 vs. No. 7 match-up in league history, and it’s pretty hard to argue the point.

Brad Miller

Of course, there were other heroes who made the win possible for the Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Brad Miller. Yeah, that Brad Miller, the big, vaguely stiffish center who plays for the Bulls. Miller had a chance to send the game into a second OT when Rondo was called for a foul on Miller’s missed layup with two seconds left. But Miller clanked the first one and then failed to hit the rim while trying to miss the second one.

Meanwhile, Dwight Howard is just destroying things. Mainly the 76ers, as evidenced by his 24 point, 24 rebound performance in the Magic’s 91-78 victory to get their own 3-2 series lead. And more specifically, he destroyed the 76ers Samuel Dalembert with an elbow to the head which earned him a technical foul. Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo has said the team has already informed the league about Howard’s foul (in hopes of getting him suspended for Game 6), but since David Stern was actually at the game, the phone call was probably unnecessary.

But like any weapon of mass destruction, Howard can be as dangerous to his allies as his enemies (think of him as the basketball version of Doctor Manhattan, except with less giant blue wang), as proven when he KO’ed Orlando starting point guard Courtney Lee, sending him out of the game and to the hospital with a likely concussion. Which means that Orlando could be very short-handed when heading back to Philadelphia for Game 6. This series is far from over.

New Jersey Devils

Meanwhile, let’s turn our attention to something slightly less violent: the NHL playoffs. Unless you consider death by choking to be too graphic for your tastes. Because that’s exactly what the New Jersey Devils did in their Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes, finding a way to lose in regulation despite having a 3-2 lead … with 80 seconds left.

No OT needed here, just a total and complete collapse started by Jussi Jokinen’s game-tying goal at 18:40 in the 3rd period and completed with Eric Staal’s game and series-winner with 37 seconds left. And keep in mind that this all happened in New Jersey: If you want to know just how quiet a sellout crowd can be, just watch this video of the Hurricanes’ furious rally:

Finally, I guess that Major League Soccer has finally reached the big time. Sure, their attendance is lagging and their TV ratings are at XFL levels, but now they can claim to be on par with a big time league like the NBA in one capacity: a referee game-fixing scandal. The COLUMBUS DISPATCH says that MLS referee Jair Marrufo is under investigation for allegedly accepting an autographed jersey from Chicago Fire star Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the referee’s room after their 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday. (And a hat tip to SOCCER BY IVES for finding the original story.)

Jair Murrafo

Accepting a gift from a player is a pretty awful idea if you’re an official of any sport, much less a professional official at the highest level. But when you add to this the fact that Marrufo called a controversial red card on the Crew’s Gino Padula for a foul on Blanco in the second half, and that the Fire rallied for two late goals against the man-down Columbus side for a 2-2 draw, and things get downright shady.

As someone who has covered the MLS in recent years, I don’t think Marrufo purposefully threw the match; Given the lousy quality of MLS referees (including Marrufo), I don’t think the majority of them have the wherewithal to fix a bowl of cereal, much less a match. It’s more likely the whole incident was a mix of horrible on the field and post-game judgment by an MLS referee, a shockingly common occurrence.

Some more sports news you might have missed while trying to hack that small tree out of your lungs last night:

  • You’ve probably heard by now that as a publicity stunt, the Albany Firebirds of arenafootball2 had offered Michael Vick a contract with a base salary of $200 a week and a $50 bonus for a win. Now here comes the twist: the ALBANY TIMES-UNION says that Firebirds owner Walter Robb is ticked off, because he says the offer was made without his knowledge, and that as a dog lover he “doesn’t want anything to do” with Vick.
  • Michael Vick Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

  • Speaking of people I wish would go away but haven’t quite yet: Please get ready to head to your fallout shelters until the start of the regular season. PRO FOOTBALL TALK says that the Jets have given Brett Favre his release, meaning he’s now a free agent. And Favre’s response to the news (“at this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football”) has me feeling very nauseous and woozy.
  • Derek Bell’s World Series ring fails to meet the minimum reserve price on eBay. Everyone assumed it was a fraud, since no one remembers him actually winning the World Series.
  • Some good news, Phillies fans: your team won 7-1 and Cole Hamels only gave up four hits while lowering his ERA. The bad news: he only went 4-1/3 innings before shutting it down after spraining his ankle fielding a bunt. And that new “lower” ERA is still at 7.27.
  • In case you missed it on Monday night, James Jones of the Miami Heat scored eight points in 11 seconds against the Hawks, thanks to back-to-back four point plays. And Miami still lost by about a billion points - imagine how much worse it could have been (OK, eight points worse, but still). BALL DON’T LIE has the video proof of the Reggie Miller-esque scoring outburst:

  • The CHATTANOOGA TIMES FREE PRESS says former Tennessee OL Cameron Mayo was arrested on charges of sexual assault. The former Volunteer was working at Dalton High in Tennessee as a substitute teacher at the time of his arrest.
  • JOE SPORTS FAN wants you to fondly look back at the wonderful world of obviously posed shots from the 1987 Topps card collection.
  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL TALK says that former Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman has fired back in his war of words with Texas Tech boss Mike Leach. Wait, Mike Sherman is still coaching the Aggies? Next you’re going to tell me that Charlie Weis hasn’t been fired yet. HUH?!?
  • In other Red Raiders news, Texas Tech’s baseball team recently had a “Turn Back The Clock” night, so UNI WATCH says their video department decided to make a retro style highlight package. Someone had a lot of fun making this, so please watch:

  • More fallout from the swine flu epidemic: the AP says that CONCACAF has canceled its regional beach soccer tournament scheduled to begin tomorrow in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The good news: if you’re going to be stranded somewhere because of a horrible flu outbreak, at least it’s the beach.

What’s the greatest playoff comeback in sports history?

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Isaac Hilton Has Your Quickest Ticket To The CFL

Thanks to YAHOO! SPORTS O.G. Michael Silver, Isaac Hilton will now forever be known as the pro football prospect with the surest way to the Canadian Football League. Not able to take the pressure of having his measurements taken and his body analyzed like a blogger examining photos of Erin Andrews, Silver reports Hilton let loose:

Isaac Hilton Pee Pee Pants

“The poor kid pissed himself,” recalls one scout who witnessed it. “He was standing up there … and it all just came out. Craziest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Read more…

Davie Declines Offer To Lead A&M’s Defense Again

The SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS reports that Bob Davie would rather stay in the press box than roam the College Station sidelines again, as the ESPN analyst turned down a chance to become the defensive coordinator for Texas A&M.

Bob Davie Fiesta Bowl

It would have been a homecoming of sorts for Davie, who coached the Aggies’ D from 1989-93. It was Bob’s last stop before South Bend, where he took the DC job for ND before becoming the Irish HC in 1997 - and we all know how well that went. Read more…

Mike Sherman To Coach Texas A&M, Keeping Tuberville in Auburn

AGGIES NAB EX-PACKERS COACH, TUBERVILLE STAYS PUT: Auburn fans can rest easy, as their head coach won’t be taking the next train to College Station.

Mike Sherman sleeping

The ASSOCIATED PRESS gets the newsletter that former Packers coach Mike Sherman has been tabbed by Texas A&M to replace the outgoing Dennis Franchione.Sherman had played QB and spent time as an assistant for the Aggies, last roaming the Kyle Field sidelines in 1996.

The current Houston Texans assistant won’t resume his new duties until after the NFL season. In the meantime, A&M defensive coordinator Gary Darnell will coach the team in their bowl game.

Reveille Texas A&M mascot Tommy Tuberville

The move ends speculation that Tommy Tuberville would be leaving the Auburn Plains for Aggieland. After the Tigers’ 6th straight Iron Bowl win, it’s just the latest national tragedy to befall Nick Saban.

Blogs: Iowa Coach Ferentz Offered Michigan Job

• M GO BLOG is feeling blue about who might be the next Michigan coach - Kirk Ferentz?!

Kirk Ferentz Iowa coach

The same coach who led Iowa to a season-ending loss against Western Michigan?• In other college job openings, THE WIZARD OF ODDS is on the lookout for a plane sent from Lincoln to Baton Rouge.

Richard Justice of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE suggests former Green Bay coach Mike Sherman might Pack his bags for College Station.

• LARRY BROWN SPORTS sees no moral victory for the Eagles in their close call against the Patriots:

Patriots Eagles

• YOU BEEN BLINDED gives us news that Tiger Woods’ caddy likes to be a driver when he isn’t handing them out.• GHOSTS OF WAYNE FONTES gobbles up how they spent their Thanksgiving at Ford Field.

• RUMORS AND RANTS calls Saturday’s UCLA-Oregon game the worst college football game ever played:

Oregon UCLA football

• GOING FIVE HOLE remembers former Penguins coach and Stanley Cup winner Bob Johnson.• THE ANGRY T putts around how Fred Couples is cleaning up at the Skins Game.