It's is hard to imagine the that there was a time where Texas A&M football was a mainstay in the top 25. It's even harder to imagine the days of one and two loss seasons. That's exactly what Aggies had become accustomed to during the 14 seasons R.C. Slocum ran the program.
The man largely responsible for producing some of the most feared defenses ever during the Sherrill years, also holds the best winning percentage in the old Southwest Conference.
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back to 2002, his firing brought on a span of mediocrity nearly unmatched in elite college football programs. Possibly no other program on par with A&M has fallen off the map in a shorter period of time.
Colorado has but only after a few coaching changes mixed in with a couple successful seasons. Washington was a powerhouse for many years in the Don James era but after he retired in 1992, they've had only few good seasons for their standards.
And, of course, there's Notre Dame, but their measure of success is nothing less than National Championships, and their last one was 1988.
The fact is that the powers that be became so jaded that one poor season and a couple slow seasons before was enough to fire arguably the most successful coach in school history. I wanted to see the difference between the Slocum and Franchione eras.
Just a few numbers broken down:
R.C. Slocum – 14 years as HC
>3 SWC Titles (4 if they had not been ineligible in their 10-0-1 1994 season)
>2 Big 12 South Titles
>1 Big 12 Title
>Never had a losing season. Only once, his last year, they had a losing conference record of 3-5.
>Eight 9+ win seasons
>Lost ONE home game in the 1990s!
>Defense – 17.01 ppg / Offense – 29.4 ppg
>0 conference/division titles
>One 9 win season (3rd in Big 12 South)
>Defense – 28.1 ppg / Offense 28.5 ppg
Now, of course, all of this means nothing except for the fact that it's painfully obvious they jumped the gun ousting Slocum because of a couple slow seasons and the thought that defense was no longer a priority in the Big 12.
It is possible the outcome may have been similar had they not fired him, but it is entirely plausible that they would have eventually bounced back to national prominence...where they belong.
I did not include last season as I will not criticize Sherman's effort after one season albeit a horrible season. If there is not steady improvement in virtually every statistical category after a 4-8 season, then there are issues. But a 600 yard game performance and no touchdowns allowed, they're on the right track...at least after week one!