I don't know whether to be pissed or dissapointed. Fran was dedicated to the Tide. He has said over and over again that his goal is to turn this program around and have us competing for the National Championship once again. In response to these rumors earlier in the season, he told everyone that he's staying in Tuscaloosa. When these "rumors" first came up earlier this season Director of Athletics Mal Moore said that "Coach Fran has stated repeatedly to us and to the public he is where he wants to be. And, I can reassure you no one supports Coach Fran, his staff and the football program more than I do."
This fucking sucks.
Fran sold out, plain and simple. The dollar signs got too big, and he gave in. Although Fran is one helluva coach and his departure is obviously going to hurt the program, that's not the worst thing. Personally, I wouldn't have signed a contract with someone I wasn't committed to, or at least would have signed a very short one if I wasn't intending on staying. Fran was under contract till 2007, and was offered a ten-year extension earlier this season. I would have filled my first contract and then went to the next school after that, but then again, that's just me. I would see it as going back on your word. However, this is business and things like this happen. But the way Frenchione handled it was about as low class as one can get.
He did not call a press conference to tell everyone of his departure. He didn't even explain anything to his players. He left on a private plane early Thursday morning without telling a soul. He met with his assistants earlier that day, and didn't say anything. He even had appointments scheduled Thursday and Friday, and recruiting trips planned for the weekend. He left in such a hurry that he didn't even pack - all of his possessions are still here in T-town, and he has hired movers that will pack up his things and send them over early next week.
The University did not even know he was gone until they saw the Texas papers report that Fran took the A&M job, and investigated to see if it was true. At 3:30 yesterday afternoon, Fran called Mal Moore and let him know he took the A&M job. He then told Mal that he wouldn't be back, amd asked Mal to explain things to the team for him. Sorry sack of shit. Instead, they set up a video conference in the Football Complex here on campus, where Fran told his former team - from his new office in Texas, no less - that he left them and now they'd have to fend for themselves.
Take a look at Coach Fran's webpage. What is the very first thing you see, besides his name? You see the words "Accountability, Loyalty, Trust". Fran showed none of those in how he handled this situation. He was not Accountable for his actions; instead of taking responsibility for his own decision, he snuck out liek a thief in the night. When the NC-double-Assholes were about to hit us with penalties from what the previous coach (DuBose) and his cronies were doing, Fran asked the current players for Loyalty. They could have transferred to another program without loosing eligibility, but they were Loyal to Fran and the Tide and stayed with the team even through the penalties. Fran asked the new recruits for their Trust. Despite lack of scholarships and a bowl ban, these new recruits still chose to come here...despite being able to get a better deal elsewhere. Not only did all of the players give Fran their Loyalty and Trust, but they went on to become the best team in the SEC (despite not being able to claim their rightful title due to the bowl ban). Not only that, but they were a top ten team for a while, and finished 14th overall. However, when it was Fran's turn to stick by the Tide even though he had a better deal elsewhere, he bolted at the first opportunity.
Fran asked the players for their committment. ESPN wrote an article about Fran leaving the Tide, and ironically enough, the title at the top of the page simply said "lack of committment". The first of these articles was linked earlier in this post, and gave the facts of the matter. This article goes into pretty good detail about just how big of an asshole Fran was in making this decision. It's a pretty good read, so go check it out.
That was Strike One. Strike Two was Tom Glavine signing with the Mets.
I never would have believed it. Glavine has always been a Brave. He was every bit as much a symbol of the ball club as Chief Nocahoma used to be back in the day. It is impossible for the human brain to think of the posibility of Glavine being anything else but a Brave. The two were as inseperable as Earnhardt and Goodwrench and RCR - just as everyone knew that Dale would have been driving that black #3 till the day he died, folks equally as well knew they'd have to bury Glavine in his red and blue "A" cap and #47 uniform.
I've always been a big Glavine fan. Not as much a Glavine fan as I was a fan of Dale Murphy as a kid, but I always had a lot of respect for him and loved watching him play. He was easily my favorite of the Braves pitchers...and that's really saying something, considering how dominant their bullpen has been for the past decade. It's going to be sad to see him go, but like Franchione, his leaving is not as disheartning as the circumstances surrounding his departure.
Apparently, Atlanta didn't want Glavine anymore.
Glavine wanted to stay in Atlanta. There's nowhere else he'd rather be. Hell, he stayed with them back through the rotten years of the eighties, when the fans were fond of displaying bumper stickers that beared the slogan: "Go Braves! And take the Falcons with you!". If he could be a Brave through that, then there's nothing that could seperate him from his team. Except that team not wanting you anymore.
John Schuerholz has got plenty of money. Don't you try to tell me that he couldn't have made a decent offer to keep Glavine. It probably didn't even have to be all that great, as long as it was at least an attempt to keep him on the roster. In Fran's case, Texas bought him. They have the fabled "black gold"...Bama's got a huge pay cut due to the NCAA sanctions. In Glavine's case, however, Schuerholz could have easily kept him. He just didn't want to. He never even made an attempt to match the Met's offer. He simply let him walk away.
It's not quite going to be the same without him, just the same wat that there seemed to be something missing when they let Jeff Blauser (someone else I greatly admired) go. What's really going to suck is fipping to channel 25 and watching him pitch against us. Forgive me, but the thought of it still hasn't fully sank in. I'm not going to believe it's even possible until I see it for myself.
That was Strike Two. You know that they always say that bad things come in sets of threes. I'm just waiting to see what happens next. Considering the first two, it could be just about anything. Stay Tuned...