If you happened to come across a certain widespread rumor today about how Mike Sherman found he'd been axed as Texas A&M's head coach, it didn't go down quite as cold as that. But it was close enough that Sherman felt compelled to defend himself at today's farewell press conference:
"I don't feel like I deserved to be terminated," Sherman said Friday. "I feel like the program is definitely headed in the right direction and I hope the next coach appreciates the opportunity he's going to get to work with these players."
Sherman was fired Thursday night after the Aggies finished the regular-season 6-6.
He had just pulled into the driveway of a recruit's home Thursday night when Athletic Director Bill Byrne called to dismiss him. Sherman was disappointed the news leaked to his family and players before he was told.
"I think we're better than that," he said.
Sherman said he hadn't been given any indication by Byrne during the season that he may be fired, wasn't given one Thursday night and didn't ask for one, as if there was anything to ask after a team with BCS and Big 12 championship ambitions in the preseason dropped four of its last five — three of them on the final play of the game — to finish 6-6. He choked up and fought back tears several times over the course of his final press conference, including the end, when got one last "Gig 'em" on his way out.
If Sherman was maudlin, his players were angry — or, in the words of junior receiver Uzoma Nwachukwu, "way way wayyyy beyond livid." Senior offensive lineman Evan Eike, who tweeted Thursday night that he was "furious" and called Sherman's ouster "f------ embarrassing to this great university." To former All-American and current Denver Bronco Von Miller, Sherman was "like another father." Et cetera.
The one person we haven't heard from over the last 24 hours: The man who delivered the news, Bill Byrne, who reportedly had little say in Sherman's fate — that came from on high, dictated by university trustees — and may soon be following Sherman out thanks to his right-hand man in the athletic department, chief financial officer Jeff Toole, aka "UtayAg," who admitted this week that he was behind anonymous message board postings that referred to A&M president R. Bowen Loftin as a "putz" and a "hopelessly underqualified puppet." (Yep: That'll do it.) If Byrne does go, under the circumstances, let's hope for his sake no one goes to the trouble of comparing eulogies.