Take the money and run
Published 12:00 am Friday, December 6, 2002
The next great Alabama football coach is history. Dennis Franchione
has left the University of Alabama for the wide open spaces of Texas, and a whole lot of money.
He finally resigned his position as the head coach for the University of Alabama Thursday.
Alabama fans should feel betrayed. Franchione was invited into – and then accepted by – a unique football family and he shunned that family yesterday.
To be accepted into that family is a great honor and a privilege not to be taken lightly.
Franchione used the University of Alabama, just like he had every other school that he had coached at during his coaching career, for a stepping stone. Each move has netted him more money, and notoriety, except for his move to A&M.
He’ll get more money, but that’s it. Alabama is one of the most prestigious schools in the country, and leaving there for Texas A&M would be a step down in everyone’s mind that watches and appreciates college football.
We can all speculate on reasons that he left – money, NCAA sanctions, or getting back to his Texas roots. But let us clear everything up now – it was the money.
A&M dangled the golden carrot out there, and Franchione chased it like a rabbit.
When you have a choice of $15 million over 10 years or between $10 and $11 million over five years, it’s not hard to do the math. He went for the money.
The NCAA sanctions and getting back to Texas might have played a minor role in it, but the money clinched the deal.
Franchione has turned his back on some lucrative endorsements deals, but he really turned on the
chance for national notoriety, and the chance to win a national championship.
This past Tuesday Franchione made a stop in Selma to appear at the Selma Quarterback Club. The quarterback club is normally a very enjoyable experience for everyone, but this past Tuesday it turned into a media circus. Every reporter wanted to know if Franchione was going to Texas.
He simply said, &uot;Nothing has changed.&uot; That was a slick answer.
What he meant was that nothing has changed (yet).
He intended to take the job at A&M all along. After saying that nothing had changed ,he proceeded to talk about his underclassmen that he was looking forward to working with next season. Franchione should be nominated for an Oscar. No one has ever given a more convincing performance than he did on Tuesday night. When all the faithful Bama fans walked out of the Selma Quarterback Club on Tuesday night they all probably felt warm and secure, and that Franchione would be at Alabama for a while to come.
In the hearts and minds of all the Alabama fans everywhere, the affectionate term &uot;Coach Fran&uot; just went to &uot;Fran the Traitor.&uot; The players that Franchione talked into staying when he took over the program, and then when the NCAA sanctions hit, have got to be kicking themselves now.