Bottom Line Ethics

You’ll be a man

As I walked out of Kyle Field following the season’s last painful field goal, I could hear the interview beginning with Mike Sherman over the stadium speaker system. I had trouble understanding a lot of what he was saying, but the pain in his voice was clear. It was the same pain I could see in the faces of the mass of Aggies who were shuffling slowly down the ramp, periodically stopping for the human traffic jam at the bottom. Even the Longhorn celebration was muted in the mob.

I have seen this before. I am not talking about coaches being fired, though that is true; this is the third “final game” I have attended of an A&M head coach. What I have seen before is that I have seen people do everything right and then get punished for it.

What came to me in the days after the game was Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If.” “If you can keep your head when those about you are losing theirs, and blaming it on you . . . .” I have rarely seen a better example of this in my years than Mike Sherman. I have never heard him blame others. He has never thrown players or coaches under the bus when it obviously would have been easy to do so. Pick a game this year, and any Aggie fan can identify the players who made the critical mistakes that changed the outcome. Not Mike Sherman. As much as he knows about football, when it comes to blaming he simply pleads ignorance.

As head football coach, Sherman had his own standard for character and performance. If you were unwilling to live by that standard, you would not see the field, and you might not even see the locker room. That was apparent during his first year in which he sacrificed a completely winnable game because of what seemed to me to be the obstinacy of a player who did not want to pull his weight. I knew then that he was not about records, but about developing a system of excellence, one that valued integrity and character above outcomes.

I do not mean to imply that outcomes did not matter to our head football coach. With each excruciating loss, he suffered openly, but with composure. He modeled for the men in his locker room, and even for middle aged men like me, what it is to walk through the fire with your head held high. He removed a popular quarterback last year for productivity reasons, just as he had removed the popular quarterback before that one. And yet both those quarterbacks were completely loyal not just to their team, but to their coach. This is leadership that is rarely found in the business world or in athletics.

Mike Sherman is not an eloquent man, and he is not a schmoozer. He is a football coach who worked his way up and has had the bright lights shine on him at both the professional and college level. He seems to never have lost the sense of who he is. I read this morning that he told one of our top recruits that he ought to come here anyway and have a great career. I am confident that he will stay in touch with that recruit to make sure that he does, and that he will offer that young man any help that he needs.

We ought to attract coaches like that to Texas A&M, and we did. I heard on the radio this morning that the groundwork that Coach Sherman laid will provide the next coach the opportunity to succeed early in his tenure here. A statement like that has to make Mike Sherman smile wistfully. Doing things right may enable another man to succeed in the place that I am convinced he really wanted to finish his career. But I am sure he recognizes that those kinds of comments create exactly the kind of expectations pressure that a nine-win season does. And I am guessing that he has empathy for what that new coach will face in the SEC environment.

But I don’t think he will sit around feeling sorry for himself. It is our loss that Mike Sherman will not be a part of the Aggie community in the days ahead. As with Kipling’s poem, his goal with his players was to help them develop the perseverance through hard times that builds the character that would lead to the poem’s final line: “And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.”

I have sat in a large auditorium and watched Mike Sherman march his players in to listen to a lecture on integrity. But I can say with confidence that he was wasting his time doing so.

Because all those players needed to do to learn about integrity was to watch what Mike Sherman did.

Comments (181) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Couldn’t have said it better.

  2. Thank you for your eloquent words. I completely agree and am sad to see Coach Sherman leave us.

  3. Completely agree.

  4. Great article Dr. Shaub. I agree.

  5. One of the best articles I have ever read! Thank you so much for that, and for showing Mike Sherman the respect he deserves.

  6. Well said!

  7. Outstanding! Thank you, Dr. Shaub and thank you Mike Sherman!

  8. Fantastic. As a father, the biggest compliment I think I could give a coach is saying I would trust him to fill my shoes for 4 years and make my son a better man. I have no reservations saying Mike Sherman made his players better men.

    • You have a problem as a parent if you need a football coach to develop your kids character. You as a parent is responsible for their character development and guess what we are paying Mike Sherman $2 million to do that. A public school teacher will do that for less than $50,000 a year.

      • No offense, but I think you are taking that comment completely out of context.

      • There can never be enough positive role models in the world. Take a look at the NFL and I think my case is made. There are a few men of good character and a lot of idiots out there showboating and stomping on their opponents. Parenting has a role to play, but it is only a part of the equation. Positive role models help reinforce the character lessons taught at home and shows they should be applied outside the home as well.

  9. Thanks for sharing Dr. Shaub!

  10. Excellent article. Today, Sherman is a casualty of a system which lacked the patience, ethics, and composure he showed while at A&M.

  11. Great article, you and coach Sherman are both great men.

  12. Great article, Dr. Shaub. I think you put into words what so many of us feel.

  13. Very good read and Sherman is indeed a great man. Unfortunately the profession and salary he chose does not measure success over a ten year period or by how many students lives he touched in a meaningful way.

    His profession is a high risk high reward place where salaries start around $1.5 million per year and rise to over $5 million for high success.

    Perhaps if he was paid under a $1 million dollars per year time would have been more on his side and fans would understand he was building men for future leadership positions.

    • Couldn’t agree more! Aggies should have won that game and many others. They had a unique opportunity of exposure that will never be presented again. Sponsors, Sports affiliates, and Reliant Stadium should pick up the UT A&M Thanksgiving game of the two flagship universities playing in the Texan’s stadium!

    • Very well said! As a football coach, no where in the job description we ask Mike Sherman to develop characters. The only requirement was to ‘win baby win.’

      • What you say is true, which shows just how much society has changed – it is all about winning, at any cost.

        How many football programs have decided to ‘win baby, win’ and then tainted their universities with scandals about “how” they won.

        Aggies should be proud of the first class program that Coach Sherman ran.

        • That could not be said any better than that! The man leaves a program that is indisputably better than when he arrived! That is because he taught things like integrity and character. These are the things that will eventually restore this program back to national relevance. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Mike Sherman on several occasions, and he taught things that means what it is to be an Aggie. An Aggies does not lie, cheat, or steal; nor does he tolerate those who do.

          • I liked Sherm a lot and thought it was just one of those years where you lose the close ones. The year could have easily broke 9-3 instead of 6-6 and the talent was there. Losing both backs before the Texas game were huge as well.

            The current administration has no issues with using whatever means they feel will get the ultimate job done and whoever gets left in the aftermath is just collateral damage. Coach, conference, commitments don’t seem to matter. As Dale Hansen (WFAA Dallas sports) said on TV tonight. Coach Sherman said “The Aggies are better then that”, and Hansen’s reply, “Well apparently not.” Sherman should have at least been told in private and been allowed to address his players before the story broke. To be told while sitting in a recruits driveway pretty much says it all. The new coach better get his contract money up front. He’s going to earn it.

            Nice article Mike.

  14. Excellent post!

  15. What an incredible, incredible article.

  16. Well said!

  17. Well said! Thanks for sharing. And Thank you Coach Sherman!

  18. As Aggies, integrity and ethics are supposed to define us. Sherman was an Aggie that was not dealt with, with any integrity!

  19. Awesome article Dr. Shaub…. so true and right on the point.

  20. Thank you for helping those of us whose hearts are breaking.

  21. It is a good article, but college football has become big business. As CEO of this football team, Mike Sherman did not do enough to produce good profitable number. As a business professor, you understand that businesses are constantly changing to stay ahead and Mike Sherman just didn’t do a good job and the number became stagnant. As a football coach, there is only two things that Sherman is reponsible for that is ‘winning championships and develop players for the NFL’ and he just didn’t do enough.

    • One can argue that he develops players. He will probably have at least 2 players from this year that will be drafted by the NFL, and they will have been trained in integrity and character and will represent our University well on the field and off, just as Von Miller has done because of Sherman.

      • Go look see how many players LSU and Alabama is projected to be drafted. Last time I checked, 28 players total from both schools combined. You better bring better argument than that.

        • Your comparison doesn’t wash, the talent going to the nfl was already in the program. Add the over signing of recruits as well as the lowered admissions requirements and it’s a very poor analogy.

          As for the business aspect, Sherman is responsible for getting he football program out of debt.

          The shortsightedness of “fans” such as yourself is exactly what Coach Sherman is referring to. You have lost all perspective of where this program has come from in 4 years because of losing a few football games this year.

          3 years of improving that record is disregarded because of 1 season ?

          Program out of debt
          Season tickets increased
          Donations increased
          Dramatic improvements of facilities
          Resurrection of the spirit, traditions and foundation of a program that was struggling
          Established accountability and ownership of program with players
          Put together an outstanding staff
          Significantly improving the talent level
          Outstanding recruiting results
          A leader with extreme conviction and character that developed great football players and even better men.

          That’s what folks like you are willing to ignore because of the results of a few football games. I would say you should come with a better argument but there is none.

    • I suspect his job would have been spared for a year had the team beat tu. As if that one game would have made a difference greater than 26 Wins /24 losses. Based on football, this was an incredibly disappointing season and firing Sherman is not entirely a surprise. But, if you look at it as a business as suggested, it was the best season in years – probably the first season that Kyle Field with The Zone addition has been sold out for every home game. His firing can be rationalized any which way but the next coach inherits a great program compared to when Sherman arrived. He did a great job even if he will not be afforded the time to finish it.

  22. Great write up Dr. Shaub. I have talked with Mike on a couple of occasions, after church and at dinner at his house. He not only is a devout football fan, but a devout Christian. He attends daily mass on a regular basis, attends Sunday morning mass at St. Mary’s, donates money and time to the church, visited the sick, visited the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was a model of what it means to be a man.

    There are a lot of people who are saying “25-25″ and “but he didn’t win”. My response has been this whole week, “I will take integrity over wins any day”. I will take Coach Sherman over Coach Sherrill any day of the week. Sherman is a man of integrity and coached like it. I agree wholeheartedly with your article. I too hope that if we are going after a “winning coach” that he may have just as much integrity and character as Mike Sherman.

    • Do you think Alabama and LSU cares if Coach Saban and Coach Miles visit the troops? The only thing a football coach is responsible on his job is to win and Mike Sherman did not do that.

      • Mike, you’re missing the point in ALL of your comments. This article isn’t about winning and losing football. Aggie Football is worth a lot more than the number of W’s on the score board. If thats all you care about than you should follow Alabama or LSU, they’ll win more.

        As an Aggie I pride myself on caring more. On knowing that my football team isn’t going to end up in jail before a big game. Our players are better than that. And Sherman was a great man that promoted the kind of culture that is at the HEART of Texas A&M.

        • Then why are we paying $2 million to a football coach, why are we constantly improving our athletic facilities. It is not about win, it is about MONEY. Winning produces dollars and culture and heart will only get you to the front of food stamp line. I recently deposit a ethnic check from my work to the bank? The bank credited me $0 because it is WORTHLESS.

          • Mike, if you truly believe that, then you are not an Aggie and should not call yourself one. It is people like you that are killing what our university truly believes in. If you care so much about winning, then go root for another school; maybe Ohio State or Penn State or something? You know, those who will win at all costs and who have no moral compass. Aggies DO, however, and that is why we are sad to see Mike Sherman go. If you can’t understand that, then you don’t belong here in the Aggie family.

    • Thank you for talking about that, Matt. This is a testament to what a terrific man he is and I feel confident he will be paid back in spades in the future; and this article will be remembered at that time.

  23. Your words of wisdom never cease to amaze me, Dr. Shaub. Thank you, once again, for giving all of us a new perspective on which to reflect when looking at this situation. Lastly, thank you for being the “Mike Sherman” for all of us current and former accounting majors. You truly are incredible.

  24. Our University, supposedly built on character and integrity, is hemorrhaging. Coach Sherman is a tremendous man. What an injustice to a great man.

    • No results, what do you want? The guy is getting paid $2 million a year to do what to win championships. Did he accomplish that?

  25. Great blog today. As always, your writing is an inspiration. We should always hold the Aggie Core Values very close.

    • Aggie core values does not produce winning results and Mike Sherman is the perfect example.

      • Zhang- Your rhetoric about wins and losses would be more appropriate somewhere else.

        My fellow Aggies just need some space to lament the loss of such a great man as head football coach. To me, he seemed to be advancing our program (I am a rabid fan and season-ticket holder) and yet he was cut down rather unceremoniously by the administration. I desparately want to win, but not at all costs. We are Aggies and we should do it the right way, the way Sherman was trying to do it.

  26. Thank you so much for for sharing this, Dr. Shaub. It breaks my heart that Mike Sherman will no longer be in Aggieland. People give lip service to the idea of integrity, but this world certainly doesn’t reward it.

  27. Zhang, how is that winning results working our the Penn State, Ohio State, etc

    or are you saying that is just the cost of doing business?

  28. Well said, Mike.

  29. ‘Nuff Said and very eloquently also! Thanks to Mike Sherman for helping us to remember what colleges and universities are here to help young people learn from great role models. It’s a shame that Aggies won’t have Coach Sherman here to keep working with students as one of the great role models we have had in a popular position.

  30. I want to first apologize if my comments are coming on too strong. I love this school, but most of us need to realize the world around us is changing at a rapid pace. There is no more trial period, you better be prepared to show results and willing to learn on the job.

    The simple fact is Mike Sherman did not do a good job as a football coach and failed to produce that winning results on the football field. I am not promoting to lie, cheat and steal but I do not think that anyone that watched the game on November 24th cared about what kind of person Mike Sherman was. The thing I cared was he didn’t get the job done.

    The bottom line is we all need to pick up our skirts, grab our balls, and lets go win some football games.

    • I think you’ve missed the entire point of this article. You SHOULD care about more than just winning. It is far more important to me, and many other Aggies, to have public figures, such as Sherman, represent this school with integrity and class than to simply win games. Is winning better? Yes, absolutely. But I would rather lose with values than win at all costs, no matter how unethical. You clearly disagree and you are very much entitled to that opinion, but I do not think this is the place to spur such a debate.

      Dr. Shaub, thank you for the well written article. I can see that you continue to be the wonderful role model you were when I was in school.

      • Funny, but the integrity and “caring” are totally lost on this Administration…many, many of whom are NOT originally Aggies. It’s also lost on a lot of the mega-Aggie donors who give millions to the school and then expect to help call the shots. Maybe they are entitled, maybe they aren’t. I will tell you that I’m sad to see the “liberalization” of this fine school…it’s not the same A&M that I attended in the 70’s…though there are some good changes, there are equally as many not-so-good changes. That’s progress, not much you can do to stop it…in our attempt to be a “world class” school, we sacrifice a little of ourselves in the process. Like Mr. Zhang said…it’s a different world, and football, to the administration at least, is big business…BIG business, and they run it like a major corporation. Perhaps it should not be this way, but it’s the progressive way. Next time someone in the stadium gets peeved with the coaching or the players and screams at the top of their lungs to fire them, try reasoning with a rabid fan about the integrity of the game when they are paying $85/ticket and up for the adrenaline rush of winning. Coach Sherman was paid over $2 million a year, and he was paid to build a program that would win. I’m proud that he mentored his charges so well, but I don’t believe he was paid just to Big Brother them…he was paid to put W’s on the board. Maybe it could have been handled better, but I truly don’t believe Coach was surprised. He knows the game and he knows the requirements and he knows the penalty for underperformance on the field. He will have a nice buy-out to help ease the pain of the dismissal.

        • It is not even the same university since I was there about 25 years after you. I blame most of that on the loss of bonfire and the top 10 percent rule. We are admitting great academics maybe but are then not able to admit great aggies and to me that is a huge loss. Again it goes back to whether or not it means anything to be an Aggie and to me it does. I personally think we should only hire Aggies for top positions because they can understand what made us so unique and so great.
          But at the end of the day you are right. I love Sherman and love that he was a great mentor and had such great character. I truly hope our next coach will be the same. Fran did a lot of damage to our football program so Sherman had a lot to deal with. I would have liked to have given him one more year but as much as I value character I still expect to have a winning season every year.

      • I agree that being a coach it is more than just winning football games. Yes, it was Coach Sherman’s job to win games for the Aggies, but his responsibility to be a leader of integrity should not be subordinated just to win. There are certain duties that must be balanced with virtues such as honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. One should question how you would respond to the type of pressure Coach Sherman was under to have a successful season. Words can not express the respect I have for this man for continueing to lead with passion and integrity despite the difficulites he faced. Character speaks louder than any football game won in my eys.

    • Mike, whether the decisions for leaving the Big 12 or firing Coach Sherman were right or not, because this is how the game is played in this ‘changing’ world, the issue is how the university leadership is handling both actions that is in question. How these decisions have been handled recently are, at best, in poor taste and the reality is they have left a lot of people hurt.

      I think many of us see the line you are pitching Mike and it is in lock step with how most feel sports, business and politics must be handled in today’s fast paced world in order to be a winner. However, I believe, there is a rising tide of indignity towards that march into madness. We want to care. We want to see honestly and humility in our leaders. The bottom line should never be the justification for any action even if it provides great gain.

    • If you run a program with this mentality you will not recruit, you will have high attrition, you will not develop players and you will not win. College football has proven this over and over again.

      You keep referencing LSU, ironic that many like you in their fanbase were screaming for Les Miles to be fired just last year.

      Coach Sherman has resurrected this program in all the ways I listed above and is significantly raising the talent level in the process. Yet you’re willing to ignore and sacrifice all that over one season.

  31. Well said Dr. Shaub… posters with poor grammar skills…”better the whole world think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

  32. Well said Dr. Shaub

  33. That was a well written article. Thanks, but the fact Mike Sherman is a good man-which he undoubtedly is-doesn’t atone for his record in a job that pays for wins. The service academies don’t even keep around coaches that are losers and nobody demands more class out of their players than they do.

  34. Amazing that you should choose that poem Dr. Shaub. This poem is my favorite poem from any author, and what I hope to emulate in my life. I would hope that whoever we get isn’t just a “win at any cost” type of man, cause if so we’re in for a rough time. My other thought at the moment would have to be is it so hard to find a winning coach who also has integrity? Tressel is an obvious NO, but what about some of the others?

  35. Great article. Mike Sherman made me proud to be an Aggie. Yesterday was certainly been a low point in my Aggie faith.

    Jason Jordan ’97

  36. Great article Dr. Shaub. I certainly agree with you. I thought Mike Sherman was a great fit for A&M and wish he had been given the opportunity to stay here.

  37. Mike Sherman is a classy guy with a wonderful family. I wish them God’s blessings.

  38. Great article. I was amazed by Coach Sherman’s ability to change this team as quickly as he did and have been a huge supporter of his from day one. Last night and today were tough to watch, and I certainly wish he and his family the best. He’s been an amazing example of what it means to live as an Aggie.

    Elizabeth ’11

  39. Great read Dr. Shaub. I agree, Coach Sherman is an excellent man. He’s led the football team with integrity and honor. I also agree that he never blamed others for his losses. However, he did occasionally blame the losses on bad bounces or plays here and there. I think this downplayed the fact that we lost five games in the exact same manner. If you lose one or two like that, maybe it is “luck”. But, five is a trend.

    I’m glad we hired Sherman. I think he’s leaving us in a good spot. However, I would not have been confident that he could lead A&M to conference championships or potentionally a national title. I want a program with character and integrity, but I really want a championship caliber program that operates with character and integrity. I wish he would have been let go in a more honorable manner. But, I now have hope again. I did not have that hope after our fifth loss with a double digit lead. 25-25 can’t be good enough for A&M, and I’m proud we made a tough choice to let a great man go to show that A&M expects more.

  40. I applaud Dr. Shaub’s tribute to Coach Sherman, and I personally think that Sherman is a man of the highest principles and I appreciate his efforts.

    However, let me quote Dr. Shaub, “He (Sherman) removed a popular quarterback last year for productivity reasons, just as he had removed the popular quarterback before that one.” As unfortunate as Sherman’s firing is, we should remember that he was brought in to turn the A&M football program around and was paid a large salary to do so. As one of the biggest universities in the nation, A&M has been in the football wilderness for at least 20 years and has never come close to a national championship or even a top 5 ranking.

    I understand the loyalty given to a fine person like Sherman, but at the same time, we must realize why millions of dollars are spent on football. College sports ceased to be athletics for the college student decdades ago and is now little more than a training ground for professional athletes.

    I do not celebrate Sherman’s departure. To him I wish the best of luck. To the A&M Athletic Department, I strongly suggest that you take your time selecting the next coach and not grab onto whoever is the current “flash in the pan.”

  41. Mike is a class act and handled it exactly how I would have expected him to. As one of his former players, I can tell you that if you don’t learn anything else, you WILL learn accountability. He doensn’t just mold players, he molds men.

  42. Thanks, Mike. I think you’ve summed up very well the heartburn so many of us have been experiencing – not only for the way it was handled but for the loss of such a fine example for A&M. I hope some lessons may be drawn from this – we live what we believe, the rest is just rhetoric. May we all walk through our fires with with the kind of integrity modeled by Mike Sherman.

    Father of two fightin’ Texas Aggies – classes of ’09 and ’12

  43. If the last loss of the season had been against anyone else but Texas, Sherman would not have been fired. Coaches coach, players play. The double digit leads were given up by the players and not the coaching staff.

  44. Coach Sherman’s firing was an embarrassment to this Aggie who wears her Ring with pride and takes the Code of Honor to heart.

    These were not honorable men who fired Coach Sherman; they weren’t even man enough to be present at the press conference.

    What kind of coach would want to come in behind Coach Sherman, knowing how he was treated? Perhaps a bottom-of-the-barrel, desperate-to-get-ahead man who cares nothing about honor; like attracts like.

    Aggies are the losers here; we will lose many more football games and fans and donor monies as we limp in to the SEC without Leadership.

  45. What a story and the attention with anothe A&M coach being fired? I started at A&M 40 more than years ago. I remembered the winning touchdown in 1971 that beat LSU in the second game of the season and then we lost the rest of the games. Gene Stallings was the Coach (he head-coached St Louis Cardinal later) and losing to tu was always a norm. Then came Emory Ballard who gave us a little bit of glory in 1976 beating tu… I still remember the energy and intensity on Coach Ballard’s face. I understand it was not a small task. I took a photo of the final score on TV and I still have the photo.

    Back then, we still talked about 1958 National Champion Aggies. I remembered John David Crow and the great Jack Pardee. Then there were Dave Elmendolf and the Oakland Raider safety with glue on his hands… We have built bonfires to burn the road to Austin… I have lost track over the years of how many games we should have won and ended up losing. The pattern has become a norm. My love for A&M has not diminished but now, I am an old man now and am not able to take a lot of agony.

    Mike Sherman is now another coach we fired. It seems to me Mike just followed the great A&M tradition–losing games when they should have won. Do we really have a winning tradition? I live in Canada now and every time I catch A&M in big games or bowl games on TV, we always managed to lose big and silly! I often wonder if it is a curse. See, Mike did not start that.

    One of the questions I have in life now is simply why Aggies always think they have to and they can win games… If you are old enough, remember the game between USC and Notre Dame in 1974? The Irish were 24-0 half time under Ara Parsegian (?), the Trojans came back to score 56 point in the seond half to beat the Irish. Ara quit and retired almost immediately… Since then, the Irish made it big several time in the national scene. Under the scrutiny of all the A&M football communities, I am not sure if this can happen at A&M. Can we attract really good talents…?

  46. Mike Sherman is a class act. This Aggie wishes him the best.

  47. Thank you, Dr. Shaub. Well written.

  48. perhaps they should have fired the atheletic director for (1) pushing A&M to leave the Big 12 – there goes another tradition, (2) firing Sherman while he was visiting a recruit which it should have been done more timely and face to face, (3) hiring Frnacione.
    perhaps they should have fired the President for allowing all of the above to happen.

  49. It is sad to see that A&M would treat such a great coach and man the way they have. Of all schools, A&M, should want a coach like Mike Sherman. He lead that team with integrity. I never saw him yell at a player. You could tell that he loved his team and wanted the best for them not just in football but in life. He showed the true spirit of A&M unlike the University. I am sicked that my school would do such a terrible thing. He was building a great team and they did not even give him a chance to finish.

  50. I remember reading this blog back in December and agreeing fully with everything that you wrote. As a university that prides itself on integrity and honor, we could not have employed a coach that embodied those values more than Mike Sherman did. He set a wonderful example to all Aggies of how to conduct oneself, especially when he was under immense pressure from the 80,000+ people in the stands at Kyle Field every Saturday. He taught his players about so much more than football; that was obvious in the way that the team handled themselves on and off the field. He did not always go for the “super star” guys; he recruited players that had good heads on their shoulders who would work their tails off. He valued honesty, hard-work and discipline. As the little sister of a high school football coach, I have seen my brother impact lives by teaching those same values, and I could not be more proud of him. I have seen first hand the effect that sports, teamwork, and the guidance of a coach can have on people. Whether or not coaches at any level are supposed to “develop character” (as stated above in the 9th comment), the ones that do show a lot about their own character.

  51. Mike Sherman is a classy man, and it’s definitely Texas A&M’s loss in no longer having him coach our football team. He was a great example of what a ‘man’ should be – in every sense of the word! Filled with integrity, passion, and especially humility, he embodied our school’s values and was certainly a great example for anyone that was paying attention. While I wish he was still our coach, I’m thankful for the time he spent investing in our players and our school.

  52. This may be called the tone from the top. If the leader of a team can hold on to integrity under whatever circumstances, then team members are more likely to follow. A more important influence is the legacy that will last for a very long time.

  53. I could not agree with your words more about Coach Sherman. He remained true to himself throughout the wins and losses during the football season. He exemplified Aggie pride which helped our players believe in themselves during tough times. He never showed disappointment in the team and kept others’ spirits up by encouraging words. Sherman’s duty as head coach was to call the plays as the team carried out the actions. Unfortunately, there were times when these actions did not result in a favorable outcome. It was apparent that Sherman valued our team and remained loyal to the players regardless of the outcome of the game. He took responsibility for his actions when necessary and took needed steps to improve the team. Sherman served as a leader figure during his time spent at Texas A&M. He made many tough judgment calls about playing certain players only to benefit the team as a whole.

  54. Honestly, before I first read this in December, I didn’t know very much about Coach Sherman’s character. He seemed like a decent football coach (by my standards), but I really wasn’t all that torn up about his leaving. However, after I read this blog, I worried about how A&M could ever find another coach who could live up to his character. Something you said that stood out to me the most was that Coach Sherman was “one that valued integrity and character above outcomes.” One word popped into my head immediately after reading that: courage. That is an extremely difficult mindset to have in this world, ESPECIALLY in sports and business, which are both essentially about outcomes. I’m glad our football team had the chance to play for such an honorable and courageous man.

  55. I do believe Sherman displayed a level of pride and integrity that all Aggies should feel honored to uphold. After knowing Sherman and his son, who graduated with me in High School, I was able to see the kind of man he was when not around a football field and I can say he was the exact same way. To this day Sherman instilled in his Aggie players a since of pride that each and every one of them still have within them. He was faced with many tough decisions as a football coach not only in Texas but also at Texas A&M where many of our values and traditions must be upheld. He will be remembered as setting the way for Sumlin to do well in the SEC.

  56. I remember watching Sherman’s last press conference and I was so impressed by the way he handled the situation. He did not call the press conference to blame anyone or tell his side of the story, instead he expressed how much he would miss each young man on the team. It takes a strong person to remain positive in such a negative situation.

    As a student, it was easy to jump on the bandwagon and want Sherman to leave after a tough season. However, Sherman did so much for the football program that most students didn’t realize. He was an incredible role model, and shaped the players into great people both on and off the field. Sherman took such pride in the Aggie traditions, and was always so grateful to all the fans. He will be missed at Texas A&M, but I am confident he has a great journey ahead of him.

  57. I completely agree that Sherman has represented this University well when it comes to his personal character and moral integrity. I have four coaches in my extended family, and I have seen how easy it is for coaches to blame their staff or their players when bad times come. I have heard one story about Sherman that has really touched me and leaves me with the utmost respect for him. As I’m sure many people know Sherman was terminated while he was on a recruiting trip in Houston. ESPN reported that he received the call as he pulling into the drive way of the recruit, and I remember hearing a sports radio station say that even after he received the call, he still met with the recruit and told him that Texas A&M was a great place to play. It is little demonstrations of integrity and loyalty like this that has caused Sherman to earn my respect, and the respect of a lot of the student body.

    • Bryce, I also heard this story and it touched my heart. What strength it must have taken for him to leave this recruit with a positive outlook on Texas A&M, even when A&M was giving him no reason to do so in treating the situation as they did. Wins and losses aside, it is as clear that A&M handled Sherman’s departure immaturely as it is that Sherman embodies all of Texas A&M’s core values and is a man of great character.

  58. It is easy for people to appear to have integrity when things are going well and according to plan. But when they face extreme adversity is when their true colors show. You really see what people are made of when everything is going against them. This is particularly true you have every reason to point the finger at others because they have wronged you.

    I remember when I first heard Coach Sherman speak at halftime of a basketball game and how much of an impact it made on me. He completely bought into the A&M spirit and told us that the football team was our team, not his team. This showed a huge amount of character, and that first impression will always stick with me.

    After the painful loss to Texas last November, I feared for Sherman’s job. I personally thought that he deserved at least one more year. People were so quick to forget what he had accomplished just a year earlier taking A&M to the Cotton Bowl. I think the high expectations followed by a disappointing season is really what did Sherman in. It was impossible for him to keep his job if he did not meet the expectations that so many had placed on him. People care more about results than they do integrity.

    The true nature of Sherman’s character was put under the greatest test when his firing was handled in the worst way possible. He was asked directly about it and the worst thing he said was the he was disappointed with the way it was handled but that was all. Here he had been treated horribly and yet he would not say anything negative about A&M. That speaks volumes and there are few people that would handle that kind of situation with as much class and honor as Sherman did.

    I want A&M to win as much as anyone else and the past decade has been full of ups and downs. People only care about the bottom line though, and fail to look at all of the intangibles that Sherman brought to the table. He got me, as a student, more excited about a football season than I had ever been before. I personally knew players on the team that constantly talked about how much they loved playing for him.

    While the season definitely did not meet expectations, and I was very disappointed with the way things played out, I feel that Mike Sherman will never be able to be replaced and it will be very difficult to find another with as much integrity and character as he possessed.

  59. There is no doubt that Mike Sherman was a man of integrity. There is no doubt that Mike Sherman did things the right way. There is no doubt that Mike Sherman was an incredible role model for the student athletes that he coached. There is also no doubt that Mike Sherman wanted to win.

    Just like every other Aggie football fan, I wish we had done better under Coach Sherman. And obviously, if we had done better, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The bottom line is that the environment of college athletics today is win or you are out. You can look around the nation at different successful (on the field) programs, and you can see that, a lot of times, this desire to win is the program or coaches downfall.

    A lot of coaches and programs will win at any cost. They’ll bend or break the rules just to ensure that their program gets a tiny little edge on the field or in recruiting. Mike Sherman knows this. I’m sure he knows many ways that he could have sacrificed his character to get a “better” recruit or win a few more games. And for a lot of Aggies, this would have been preferred. But for me, I am glad that Mike Sherman was the man that he was.

    Of course, like any passionate fan, I disagreed with a lot of things that Mike Sherman did as a football coach. But his character as a man and his qualities as a leader are both things that I never questioned. There is no doubt in my mind that Texas A&M is a better place because of Mike Sherman and the time he spent here.

  60. It is unfortunate that Coach Sherman is no longer at Texas A&M. I know that all of the football players respected Sherman and looked up him as a coach and a person. He was willing to make the tough calls on players who were not acting in the team’s best interest. He valued the player’s character more than winning a game, and in reality, isn’t that what truly matters in life?

    Unfortunately, I believe that the decision to fire Sherman was not made on his character but on his record. Football programs want to win. We forget to put things into perspective; however, Sherman can rest knowing that he is respected at Texas A&M. He never tarnished the school and their decision, but held his head high in light of everything that happened. That takes true character.

  61. Forewarning: this will be probably be long-winded and most likely will sound like someone who thinks they know more about football than they actually do, but it is what it is..

    Dr. Shaub was 100% correct in his statements about Sherman’s integrity and the kind of coach he was. After Sherman was gone, I didn’t want to talk to anybody about it for literally weeks. It was beyond frustrating how short-sighted our administration seemed.

    The same guy who took a team on a 9-win season that would’ve been capped off by a defeat of LSU if Hodges hadn’t gotten hurt (go back and look…we were dominating on defense till he got knocked out), was the same guy who took a wildly overrated team to a slightly underachieving 6-6 season. Blame the play calling all you want. Sherman wasn’t the one who made Tannehill throw into triple coverage after Blackmon handed us a present in the 3rd quarter in the OSU game. And even when we still had a chance to come back on the last drive in that game, it was Tannehill again who threw that pick, not Sherman. We win that game, and I think the season turns out a lot differently.

    Sherman was plagued by a team that literally had NO ONE step up and be a leader all year. Not on offense. Not on defense. Cyrus carries himself like a leader, but he’s too quiet and humble. Tannehill is supposed to be, but he’s not a presence in the huddle or sidelines at all. Judie was our closest shot on defense, and he was injured more often than he wasn’t.

    Yet somehow all that gets put on Sherman? Can’t fathom how that is. If you were following Von or McGee on twitter right after Sherman left, you would see how a couple of A&M’s greatest players in the last few years felt about their coach.

    If you look at all the year-in-year-out, successful college programs, for the most part the common denominator is stability. Same goes for the NFL. The teams that are able to build long-lasting, successful programs are the ones who commit to their staff. Does that mean you might go through some rough years? Sure it does. But if you have the wisdom to be in it for the long haul, it will pay off. Apparently the administration can’t think that far down the line.

    Anywho, I digress… All the being said, I think Sumlin has put together staff so far, and I’m excited to see he’s going to bring to the table. Even if I’m still bitter about how there was ever a job opening for him in the first place.

  62. I believe he is a good coach. even though we lose the game but we all know that the coach and the players were contribute their best. It is usually easy to command from the outside. we are not them, we can not just judge them with our own perspective. people always say if I were the president of a country or the CEO of a organization, I would do better than them. But the truth is as the leader they need to manage all aspect of an organization, we only see part of it.

  63. Great read and great blog. Mike Sherman was always a man of integrity on and off the field. He simply refused to give up or to blame. When faced with the incredibly difficult situation he was in he just put in work and tried to build our program the right way. I hate to see him go and I don’t think we will be better off without him. I hope we had won just one more of those close games this season. If we had, I think Mike Sherman would have had a long, successful career at Texas A&M.

  64. I had the opportunity to play for Coach Sherman my freshman year. The way he came in and dealt with guys with character issues was amazing to see. Although it angered some alumni, he refused to play people such as Mike Goodson and J. Lane because they would not buy into the program. He turned our program around and made it into an environment of winners on and off the field. I have a great deal of respect for the man and I have no doubt he will do great things for the Miami Dolphins

  65. It is sad to see Mike Sherman gone. One thing I like to remember him by is that when he found out he had been let go he was at one of our star recruits house tyring to convince him to come to A&M. After hearing the news he stayed positive and still told that young man that A&M was the best place for him to attend college. That is classy.

  66. Well said, Dr. Shaub! I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. Coach Sherman was a man of integrity, no doubt. I believe that Texas A&M will miss his leadership in more ways than one.

    He truly embodies the phrase, “what’s popular isn’t always right, and what’s right isn’t always popular.” In the past few years he could have easily succumbed to the pressure he was feeling from other coaches, alumni, and current students to play players that could have maybe won a few more games for him. However, those players didn’t respect what Coach Sherman the team as a whole was trying to do, so he sat them. He was truly a man of his convictions and stood strong in what he believed in. He never lost sight of who he was as a coach, as a teacher, or as a man. His lack of conformity contributed to him losing his job. However, he left Texas A&M with some great memories, friends, and his integrity still intact. We can all learn something from Coach Sherman.

  67. I agree with everything that Dr. Shaub has said above. I was truly sad to see Mike Sherman go because of how great a man he was. He wasn’t concerned how well you played on the field. He was concerned about how you, as a man, were performing in your off field duties. I remember back freshmen year when he was first hired how many fans would call for the J-Train to come in on short yardage situations. However, Sherman never gave into the crowded because J-Train was a lazy selfish player his final year here and Sherman showed him a no nonsense attitude. The class and integrity that Sherman showed in his final press conference was something I have never seen before. This really showed the type of man he is. He is the definition of a role model for any young man.

    While I hated to see Sherman go, I think a&m made the right decision (and I think he knew to) to let him go given the many different variables surrounding our football team. I think A&M wanted a fresh start as we head into a new conference which hopefully holds a bright future ahead for us.

  68. When you look at players like Von Miller who valued rambunctiousness and irresponsibility as a freshman, it is clear to see that Sherman has helped transform that man into someone who the Aggie family is proud to uplift. This has been the case with many freshman players who have come through under Sherman’s coaching staff. Sherman instills a sense of humility and respect in these players and shows them that there is more to football than just winning.

    Sometimes it seems that people blame Sherman for spending too much time worrying about the players’ personal integrity and not enough time worrying about winning. Although in this day in age I am convinced that success on the football field is rooted by a strong dedication to integrity and team work. I only hope that Coach Sumlin will instill the same qualities within our team as we head into the SEC

  69. Mike Sherman epitomized what it means to be an Aggie. He was a man of great character and integrity, and no one doubts that he was a great person. However, in today’s society so much depends on winning and the results on the field. When it comes down to it, people want to win, and they are willing to do whatever it takes. Even though Sherman was a great role model for his players, he couldn’t provide the results our school wanted. I do feel that Sherman has left our program in a good place, and I hope that our next coaching staff can maintain the same level of integrity, and also perform well on the field!

  70. I have to agree with Matt Williams above in that, although Coach Sherman exemplified all qualities that a good coach should, A&M made the right decision, and I think Sherman knew this. He had the opportunity to win and for whatever reason, he did not. No wins = a new coach. Is this the correct criteria? I don’t know, but it is the criteria used none the less. It is time for a new start, and I think Sherman saw that he had done all that he could. The wounds from the previous season were too deep for him to repair in the position of head coach.

  71. My whole family went to the University of Texas, but I chose to A&M because of one reason, the people! Aggies are definitely a different breed of character and thats what makes us all proud to say we are Aggies. Sherman was the kind of person that every Aggie strives to be. A friend of mine on the football team said he was a true leader, and that if you didn’t keep up with your school work or treated a professor with disrespect, you didn’t play. Sherman cared about developing the character of his althetes and not just the numbers on the board and that is an amazing quality to have as a person and especially as a football coach.

  72. Personally, I believe Sherman is a great example of the saying “you will be judged by your actions, not your intentions.” I am certain that his intention was to build a winning team that maintains a high level of integrity. However, he obviously could not accomplish this and will forever be remembered as a coach during the mediocre days of Texas A&M football. Contrast this to the culture at Florida when Urban Meyer was coach. Apparently his teams were characterized as a team of thugs. However, his teams won and will forever be remembered as one of the greatest coaches of the game, despite the obvious character flaws of his teams. I find it disappointing that a man with the greatest intentions could not succeed on the field, and will be forever remembered by this fact.

  73. Great article, Mike Sherman truly embodied the principles that we at A&M value so highly. Despite the disappointments of last season, he has contributed greatly to our school, and I hope the values he instilled in our program continue in his absence.

    I recognize that winning is the bottom line when it comes to judging a coach’s performance in the minds of most people, but wouldn’t it be great if more leaders out in the sports community and the business world acted with the same integrity and character of Mike Sherman?

  74. It is a pain that a whole season is judged solely by the wins achieved. Sherman did his part in rebuilding A&M’s football program, we will now be playing in the best football conference against some of the best teams, and it is a shame he will not be coaching the team as this transition unfolds.

    Sherman was able to open doors for many players after college. Von Miller was A&M’s first 1st round draft pick since 2003, and A&M is rumored to have another first round pick with Ryan Tannehill. Also, he was part of setting the record for the largest crowd at Kyle Field. With all of these great new traditions he has started for A&M, it was hard to watch him leave solely due to one season’s average winning record.

  75. I agree with you, Dr. Shaub. Coach Sherman did a lot for our football program, and I always admired that he didn’t try to blame others when the team lost a game. He is a very good example of a leader that has high integrity; a leader that embodies many qualities that are hard to come by in college sports – humility, honesty, and character. Yes, our team did not win as many games as we wanted. I personally think our bad seasons were due to the fact that we are still working on becoming a prominant team in college football. Thus, we haven’t been able to attract the amount of highly talented players as other schools in the past few years. I feel that most of the players on our football team in the past few seasons are very dedicated to our school and what it stands for. However, they weren’t able to match up to the skill and abilities from other teams. This isn’t Sherman’s fault. His time as a coach here at A&M saw us move up in the public’s eye, as we became more widely noticed by the press. I understand why Coach Sherman was fired though – in sports, it’s typical to judge a team by its wins and losses. Coach Sherman wasn’t giving the atheletic department what it really wanted. In an industry that’s so focused on results, there’s less emphasis put on how you get there. I hope that Coach Sumlin leads us to a great season in a new conference, but also upholds the high standards of integrity and leadership that Coach Sherman set.

  76. The easiest thing to do in times of failure is to blame others, but Coach Sherman never resorted to that despite his many opportunities. Regardless of a winning or losing season, you cant lose with Sherman as your coach because you are always learning from his good examples. He was a leader that exhibited the true definition of an ethical person. He had all the promising qualitites such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, and character. It is easy to give up when things arnt going your way but he never lost hope. Robert Shiller said that people model their actions on others’ behavior. If this statement is true, then every Aggie football player ever coached by Sherman got the greatest gift from being on that football team.

  77. I remember reading this article back in December and thinking that everything must happen for a reason. I truly believe that firing him was our lose, but I can’t help but think there is a bigger plan for Mike Sherman in the same way there was a bigger plan for Richard Kinder when he was passed over for CEO of Enron. Mike Sherman’s coaching style was more about what was said in the locker room than on the field, and if you aren’t meeting expectations then it’s on to the next person who will. Sadly, we are going to be faced with the very same issues in the accounting world, and I can only hope that I handle similar situations with grace and dignity–just like Mike Sherman.

  78. I recently finished reading Tony Dungy’s books, and I am reminded of the leadership and influence that someone in a coaching position can have. Dungy, similar to Sherman, is a man worthy of utmost respect with values, integrity, and courage who carries himself well. I think that these men (as mentioned in previous comments) are phenomenal people to have in positions that are so influential to the team members and the university as a whole. Unfortunately, the business isn’t about moral uprightness, integrity, and example. Dungy, Sherman, and many more to be sure, have had to face trials and adversity in their career; however, I applaud them for staying true to who they are and accepting things as they come.

  79. This is my second time reading this blog and the feelings it evoked were the same as last time. The whole time I was reading, I couldn’t help but think what the business world would look like if every corporation was led by a Mike Sherman–leaders that not only cared about end result and making the numbers, but leaders that legitimately cared about leaving their mark on the community and bettering everyone on the team. Like you said, it is our loss that Mike Sherman will not be a part of the Aggie community in the days ahead. We can only hope and pray that the next captain of the Aggie ship is just as morally courageous and genuine as Sherman was.

  80. Although I agree that Sherman did not deliver the the promising season we expected, I was still sad to see him go. I think he was a great coach, and it was obvious after seeing his final goodbye that he cared deeply about this school and the football program. I was upset to see the way in which his firing was handled, and I think that A&M officials owed him more than that. He handled the circumstances especially well, and I know he will be missed by many.

  81. It’s a shame that Sherman was fired as head football coach. His firing proves the difficulty and culture of the college football “business”. Few fans, including myself, step back and consider that these football players are young men and students, not simply athletes. From his NFL experience as a coach, Sherman clearly knows how college is an extremely important time for the formation of character and manhood, and he did not want to be so narrow minded as to simply focus on wins and losses. Sure, I would’ve liked to see Texas A&M rise to prominence and win a national championship last year, but I think I should be more proud of the smaller, unknown and lasting effects Sherman made on the athletes in his program. My hope is the future football coach will retain this character-building focus and develop men of integrity as well as future NFL football players.

  82. A few years ago, St. Mary’s Catholic Church was conducting a raffle as a fundraiser and one of the prizes was a lunch date with Coach Sherman. To this day, I can still remember asking myself “Why is lunch with Coach Sherman such a grand honor?!” Our paths had never crossed before so I didn’t know him personally; I just knew him as the head football coach. Days after the drawing I received a call from the church and a woman on the other line tells me I won…I WON!! Was it the I-pod? A gift card to the mall? Something unbelievably amazing and one of a kind? No, it was none of these. I won the lunch date with Coach Sherman, and, regrettably, I passed this opportunity onto the next lucky winner.

    Looking back, I wish I would have accepted this prize and taken the opportunity to meet Coach Sherman when I had the chance. His steadfast character, integrity, and loyalty are qualities we desperately need and should strive for in own lives. He represents something far greater than a winning or losing record for our football program. Excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service are values we cherish at this university, and Coach Sherman upheld these values both on and off the field. I understand a winning record is important, but not to the detriment of our core values. Hopefully, we don’t lose sight of this as we move forward into the SEC.

  83. I could not agree more with Dr. Shaub. There is no question Sherman is a football genius and losing him was a big loss for the University. I know there are many who argue change was necessary and I am excited and supportive of our current program, but will miss having Sherman as our coach. I remember watching his press conference after he was let go. He said everything with so much respect and class despite the situation he was in.

    I think Paul made a great point earlier about the thought of what the business world would be like if every corporation was run by Sherman. I think besides leading to a greater amount of integrity in the employees, they would also work hard for the person leading them as I know Sherman’s players did for him.

  84. I agree completely with every thing you said Dr. Shaub. When I think about Sherman, yes I remember the disappointing seasons and games, but what lingers in my mind is his final press conference after they announced his firing. This was an opportunity to bash and insult the A&M program for firing but instead he held is head up high and supported us. That shows what an amazing man he truly is. I don’t know many people who would do what he did. While many people were ashamed to have Sherman as our couch, that press conference showed what class he truly has. Though I hope for this next year to be a turning point, Sherman will truly be missed.

  85. Coach Sherman really seems like the perfect fit for what Texas A&M stands for in terms of character. While it is a shame that he was fired, I am very grateful for what he has done for our team. We can be confident that a lot of those guys representing our school in that locker room are better men as a result of looking up to Mike Sherman. They could just watch him and know how to hold their own heads up high through the tough times, which we will most likely be encountering this next season in the SEC. I feel like Sherman left us and Coach Sumlin with a great foundation for this transition, and I am grateful for the time he spent here as not only a solid coach but also a great role model.

  86. Coach Sherman’s experiences emphasize how important it is to focus on a career, and not just a job. Any one job we take will probably not be permanent. Our careers will likely take us to many different jobs. To protect our careers, we have to protect our reputations.

    I think Sherman’s post-A&M experiences are heartening for those who stay on the virtuous path. He was unemployed for less than 2 months before being named offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins. Some of our in-class examples for frauds mention people who went along with frauds because they did not want to lose their jobs, like David Duncan and several WorldCom employees. While Sherman lost his job, it would appear that his reputation and the respect he built up in the coaching community over the years has some real value.

    In an interesting twist, the Dolphins head coach who hired him, Joe Philbin, used to be an assistant under Sherman with the Green Bay Packers. Clearly, their time in Green Bay cemented a good working relationship and a mutual respect. Now that respect is paying dividends for Coach Sherman, who has found an excellent position in the NFL that may provide a springboard to another head coach job in the future. The Dolphins even used the 8th overall pick in the NFL draft on Sherman’s quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, which further demonstrates their high opinion of Sherman.

    One lesson from Sherman’s ouster at A&M is that acting ethically can produce long-term advantages, even if it is tempting to violate those ethics for short-term gains.

  87. I think everyone will agree that Mike Sherman is a class act and is proud to have him represent Texas A&M. There was a huge backlash when Sherman was fired because we fired a man with great integrity over football wins. I had the fortunate opportunity to speak one on one with Tim Cassidy last summer at a dinner and he only said great things about Sherman. One reason they hired him was because of his integrity and how much he cared for his players. Sherman is a religious man who voiced to his players to keep their faith strong which appealed to many recruit’s parents. After the top RB in the nation signed with the University of Texas, Sherman sent a text message to the recruit saying something to the effect of Congratulations, Coach Brown is a great coach. Even though Sherman lost a big battle, he still had the integrity and character to feel happy over the recruit’s decision.
    Sherman was the CEO of the Texas A&M Football team. He under-performed at year end for four straight years. At any company in the world if the CEO is struggling to produce results and expectations, the CEO may be replaced. Mike Sherman is the perfect candidate for an Athletic Director role at a University. If he was not the OC at Miami, I would be in heavy favor of him replacing Bill Byne in the summer.

  88. What a great article Dr. Shaub. I completely agree with Logan’s statements that Coach Sherman would have delivered A&M a Cotton Bowl victory had Hodges not gone down. I think there are 2 sides to this story and why Coach Sherman was fired. I believe sports are a lot more than just playing on the field. It is about developing men of character and integrity and that reflects how the players play the game. Secondly, it is about overcoming adversity and showing heart and toughness in the most crucial moments. That was displayed throughout the latter part of the ’10 season. At the end of the day, Coach Sherman could not meet expectations for 2011 season. Each week, the football program and Aggie fans discovered a new rock bottom and it seemed like no measures were taken to change the outcome. The old saying “keep on doing the same thing and expect different results” applies here. I believe this mentality of the coaching staff warranted Coach Sherman’s termination. I was extremely disappointed how the athletic department handled the firing of Coach Sherman. At the end of the day, with all the tradition, facilities, and recruiting that A&M has, 25-25 just doesn’t cut it. Thanks for the last 4 years of football, Coach Sherman, and I wish you the best in leading the Miami Dolphins’ offense. I am excited about Coach Sumlin leading us into the SEC.

    • I fully agree with this perspective of Sherman’s firing. As much as everyone wants to be upset with losing him as a coach, the business is not about integrity if you can’t win. A&M needed something to be excited about with our transition into the SEC and we didn’t need to have second half woes weighing on us all season.

  89. It was truly heartbreaking to see Sherman treated the way he was when he was let go. He was nothing but loyal to his players, and to our university – for that, I applaud him. He is one of the most stand up men I have ever had the opportunity to meet. He did all he could for our football program, and unfortunately for him, the odds were not in his favor. He may not have been successful as far as wins and losses go, but he showed our university, and the entire country, what it means to have integrity. He held his up high in his final press conference. After that, if anyone ever doubted how much he cared about A&M, they are clearly blind.

  90. I believe that it takes time to see results, especially the road that coach Sherman was trying to pave here at Texas A&M. We lost a great leader and was too fast in pulling the trigger to let coach Sherman go. I believe strongly that with the experience Sherman has in NFL, along with the successful program he was trying to build here at A&M, we could actually have a great run in the SEC for the first time next season. It truely was a shame we let coach Sherman go after the last season and I wish him the best in NFL.

  91. While performance is important, I am disappointed that A&M handled our coaching situation as they did. I believe letting loose such a well respected, honorable man was one of the largest mistakes our institution has made. After the fiascos at Arkansas State, the NFL Saints, and other institutions, I can’t imagine why we are taking an inexperienced coach into the most competitive BCS conference. I fear that he will not be able to handle the pressure to win, because there will always be a person, typically a person who’s face will not be in the newspaper during a scandal, tempting Sumlin to cut corners and “do whatever it takes.”

  92. I agree with completely with this article, especially when talking about Sherman’s system, being, “…one that valued integrity and character above outcomes.” I think what he demonstrated to our university and to his players was more than anyone could hope for in a coach. His character and integrity portrayed Texas A&M in the best possible manner. This was most clearly seen in the way he handled being let go as the head football coach. He was let go in a completely disrespectful way, yet handled it just as a man of integrity would.

  93. I’m going to take a more cynical point of view on this blog post. The way the athletic department handled Mike Sherman’s firing is not much different from how corporations today handle high integrity, but under performing executives. I was never a fan of Sherman’s on-field coaching. But I did respect the way he handled himself through the criticisms, the losses, and even his exit.

    I want to compare this story to one of pwc’s ethical dilemmas from yesterday. The ethical dilemma involved the high performance auditor that decided to go to the gentlemen’s club with his client. Of course, there were many parts of that story that were not shared that could possibly change many of our viewpoints. Many people in the class voted to terminate him, and they have a strong basis for that. One classmate raised the question, “Well, if that auditor did not go to the gentlemen’s club and jeopardized the relationship with that top dollar client, eventually losing that client, would that not also be career suicide?”. No one answered that question. Whether or not the real decision to go to the club affected the client relationship, hypothetically it was a great question that was not answered. I cannot see a company telling that auditor, “Hey, it’s okay you lost that client by not going to the club. It’s only just a few million dollars in fees we just lost.” That’s not realistic.

    It always baffles me when I hear these Big 4 firms come in promoting their “people”. If they rank “people” their number one priority, the one they never talk openly about is the rank of “money”. If company’s emphasized and really practiced the culture they say they have on their brochures, situations like David Duncan’s scandal at Enron would not have happened. There would be no pressure to do the right thing.

    Mike Sherman’s firing was about money. Losing seasons means less revenue. The choice to fire him was understandable. But it doesn’t make it feel right.

  94. This is a very moving and well written article which describes Coach Sherman’s tenure here perfectly. He was respected by all as a coach, mentor, and person. The ability for the athletic department to terminate a man who has given so much to the aggie community in the fashion they did, speaks to the rushed and poor decision making they displayed. As stated in the article above and further credited by statements from his players, the blame should have not been placed on Coach Sherman as it was. Although he might have preferred to finish his career at Texas A&M, his work here building the intregrity of his program has not gone unnoticed by other outside our community. With his recent hiring to the Miami Dolphins, Coach Sherman has been rewarded for his stong ethical courage and given the opportunity to provide the same value to the program and its individuals just as he did here.

  95. Without completely repeating my own post under the Petrino article, I can say it is a shame that last season ended the way it did. A shame for the players, students, the administration, and especially Mike Sherman. It amazed me to no end how loyal Jerrod Johnson remained to Coach Sherman even after being benched his senior year. It must be a truly incredible man that can have a player in Jerrod’s situation still be supportive of him. A&M lost a great man of character last year and I hope that Sumlin will follow in his footsteps in the SEC and continue to develop the character of our players as well as the talent.

  96. I think the majority of aggies were sad to see Sherman go, and share the same respect and admiration for the type of man he is. I’m not sure how the, pulling out the carpet from underneath him, was allowed by our athletic department but I can tell you that this action was shockingly unaggie like. Although it would be hard not to feel sympathy for Mike Sherman, I would assume a man like him would tell us not to. Instead he used his actions to show his character, and taught us all here in aggie land something very valuable that will have a lasting impact on many people’s life’s.

  97. This was a great post Dr. Shaub. From reading some of the comments already posted, it clearly is a controversial topic. I believe that is because Coach Sherman was such a beloved figure in the Texas A&M community. I have not spoken to anyone that knew him that was happy with the decision to fire him. Their reasons were not just due to his strong integrity and who he was as a man, but also that Sherman was indeed a great coach. Many of the players were outraged at the decision and publicly showed their disappointment on Twitter. They openly stated that it was not Sherman’s fault the team had a disappointing season but that it came down to poor execution. Coach Sherman not only prepared his team for every game but also for life. He made them better men.

    We have recently seen how valuing wins and money over strong integrity can have high costs on a university as a whole. Just look at Arkansas and Bobby Petrino. Yes, Petrino brought national recognition to the Arkansas football program, but now, he has left the university in a very fragile state.

    I think everyone that loves Texas A&M wants to win, but we want to win the right way. We cannot afford to sacrifice everything this great university stands for/represents for a few more notches in the W column. Firing Sherman was a rash reaction that focused on short-term gains and ignored long-term consequences, such as stability, integrity, and tradition.

    Sherman is now the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins only a few months after his departure. Clearly, he knows football, winning, and what it takes to get to the NFL. That can be replaced, but his love for the university and outstanding values may leave a larger void.

  98. This has been quite the controversial topic among Aggies. I think that Coach Sherman should have been given a few more years, because he can’t bring outstanding results in such a short period of time. He has been such a role model not only for his team, but for the entire Aggie community. His team looked up to him and could not have had a better motivator by their side. He was fired because he wasn’t bringing success quickly enough. You’re right by saying that there are too many people that are let go even when they do everything right. Coach Sherman put his heart and soul into the team and deeply cared for A&M. It is such a disappointment that he was not appreciated for the things that he did right.

  99. Very powerful article, Dr. Shaub. To be honest I didn’t know much about Mike Sherman till he got fired at the end of this past season, but since that time I’ve heard from many people what a great man he was. I hated to hear that he found out of his firing through leaks to the press and wasn’t told outright. After all he’s done for us I think he at least deserved that respect.

    I think men like Mike Sherman are somewhat of a rare breed these days. To have players so devoted to a coach and upset when they are released, really shows how much he meant to the team and Texas A&M. I think he did just as much to develop his players into men as he did to develop and grow the football program. I also really think highly of him for telling the recruit to still attend A&M, knowing what a great place it is to be.

    I hope to one day act as Mike Sherman does within the business world. To have that type of influence on people’s lives and strong, outstanding character. He is definitely a great role model and he will surely be missed at A&M.

  100. This was a great article to read. I didn’t know a whole lot about Coach Sherman until he was let go at the end of this last season. I considered him a good football coach, but didn’t really know how great his character was. In sports, as well as the business world, success is measured by results. Whether that be winning games or having income off the charts, success is measured by results. To know that Coach Sherman was “one that valued integrity and character above outcomes,” just shocked me. He really set the tone at the top for our football organization as well as Texas A&M. Even more so, the way he handled his firing truly showed his character. Like you said, he could have thrown so many people under the bus with him for the results of the football season, but he didn’t. Coach Sherman will definitely me missed at Texas A&M.

  101. I had a soccer coach that was somewhat similar in high school. If you missed a practice or was even 2 minutes late to the pre-game warm up you wouldn’t start/play that game. He used to say the rules were that way because we were a united team and we had the duty to all of our other team members to either be wholeheartedly committed to the team or to quit. Giving 50% effort didn’t suffice. It was refreshing to have a coach at Texas A&M that was also unwilling to compromise his values (e.g. integrity, hardwork, etc.) and how he thought the team should operate. I think Mike Sherman encapsulated the exact spirit and value system that exemplifies what Texas A&M should be. Through his behavior, he was a role model to many, and what some would call the epitome of being an Aggie. It was a shame to lose him, but we can only hope to have more like him in the future.

  102. Thank you for this article, Dr. Shaub. Coach Sherman was an amazing coach and a leader of men on the field. He built our football program up from near nothing and has laid the groundwork for Coach Sumlin to be successful in his career here.

    The one thing that I’ll always remember about Coach Sherman is how he handled his termination. He truly exemplified his character by gracefully accepting it. The administration handled this in such a poor way that it would have been easy for him to make remarks about the athletic program and vent his frustration. But he didn’t. He carried himself with a sense of class that is rarely seen in today’s world.

    He didn’t point fingers at anyone. He didn’t place blame on anyone. He simply accepted their decision and prepared to move on. That is the true definition of a man. I cannot think of a better leader for young men than Coach Sherman. He will be missed next season at Kyle Field and I wish that our incoming football players had the opportunity to be coached under such a virtuous and and noble man.

  103. Dr. Shaub,

    What a great article. I, like most Aggies, was upset with the production of last football season. We had a top ten team that many analysts were projecting would win the Big XII, and possibly receive a bid to a BCS bowl game. Unfortunately, these expectations were not met, and the person who took full responsibility was the man in charge, Coach Sherman.

    Personally, I wasn’t a fan of Sherman based on his performance as our head coach, until I heard his press conference after he was fired. After hearing him speak, my perception of him changed completely, to the point where I, as a student at Texas A&M, regretted letting a man like him go from our football program. It is no surprise to me that he recruited such good athletes to come play for Texas A&M because of his dedication to developing these young men both on and off the field. It was evident that he lead his team with integrity, and he cared more about developing his players into men of credibility more than anything else.

    It takes courage for someone in a position that Coach Sherman was in to lead by example and to do so holding his head up high. Coach Sherman never cut any corners, nor passed the blame to anyone else. He was a man of integrity, and after hearing about coaching scandals that have surfaced in the past few months, including those at Penn State and the New Orleans Saints, it is obvious that we let a great coach go.

  104. Even though Mike Sherman didn’t graduate from Texas A&M, he exemplified the best of any of us here at this school. In a system that is totally based on results and records, Sherman ran his program to accomplish more than that. In 20 years when football is just a memory for his players, the values that he instilled in them have the ability to remain.

    I have great respect for a man in such a high profile position who will act in a way that line up with his values, and not bend to pressure. Part of being a leader is doing what is best for the organization long term, even if there are drastic short term consequences. Sherman’s attitude reminds me of an interview I saw about George W. Bush. George, in reference to his decision involving the Iraq war, said that he did what he thought to be best for the country. He said he could look in the paper everyday and find someone calling him a poor leader and questioning his decisions. In a role similar to either of these two men, people will always look for something to insult. The mark of a strong leader is pushing forward with what he thinks is good and right, even when every voice around him screams something else.

  105. I couldn’t agree more with your comment about the integrity lecture. Not in the sense that it wouldn’t have had a impact on the players, but that there is no substitute for having a great role model with integrity and courage. As much as athletic directors and school officials want to talk about graduation rates or the locker room environment, the fans and students cause the athletic director to make decisions based on wins and money.

    Based on everything I know about Mike Sherman, it’s a shame that a few blown games in one year caused everyone to forgot about the development of the A&M football program and his players. However, with that said, a job is a job. If one were a manager and failed to produce the outcomes their boss had laid out for them, it is only a matter of time before he or she would be fired. Since college football has long been a business, I can see why wins and losses are the only metric used to measure a coach’s success. It’s frustrating to see a coach leave that left such an impact on the players and fans, but it’s the world we live in.

  106. I thought the Sherman firing was an interesting similar in ways to the Petrino incident. On one hand, you have a coach that exemplifies everything you want in a coach; he taught these boys how to become men. He was the coach every parent wanted their children to play for – he prepared them for life AFTER college. On the other, you have Petrino, who wasn’t exactly a shining example for the players that looked up to him. In both of these situations, the university considered the consequences, and made a decision based on the “greater good” of their brand name and revenue.

    Whether the message was the right or wrong one, Texas A&M stated that the brand and the football team was more important than teaching the players how to become men.

  107. Like you Dr. Shaub, I believe that firing Mike Sherman was the wrong decision. The way in which it was carried out only added insult to injury. But what sticks out to me the most about this decision is the stark contrast that exists between Aggies and Aggie football fans. Texas A&M’s history as a school has been arduous. The school has been on the precipice of extinction on more than one occasion, and was led out of these trying times by leaders like Lawrence Sullivan Ross, E.B. Cushing, and General James Earl Rudder. It has taken a great deal of patience and a quiet work ethic from many men and women to make Texas A&M the University it is today. When it comes to our football program, however, we seem to be unwilling to exhibit those same behaviors. The decision to fire Sherman represents the sacrifice of long term success for short term results

    It was always very apparent that Mike Sherman instilled in his student athletes the importance of doing the right thing. This became apparent to me at Muster, when Joey Villavisencio’s name was called. A deep collective “here” could be heard from one area of Reed Arena, and it was readily apparent that an incredibly large number of Joey V’s teammates had come to Muster for him.

    Mike Sherman was not the most exciting coach. He certainly wasn’t the type of coach about whom SportsCenter liked to make catchy montages. He didn’t jump up with his players or throw his headset when a play blew up. But, as you mentioned, Sherman had something that is becoming increasingly rare amongst coaches: integrity. More importantly, he instilled that in his players. While its role in college football has been minimalized, integrity plays a role in any team’s long term success. Our administration’s failure to acknowledge that indicates an abandonment of the virtues which made Texas A&M great.

  108. This story is sad. As an Aggie and an avid supporter of Aggie football it made me sick to see him go away like this. There were rumors that he was fired on the way to a recruits house by text message and then continued to recruit the kid and told him although he won’t be there next year A&M is a great school.

    The way he was fired was completely unethical. The man put his heart and soul into the Aggie Football and he was cast aside like a man who had never stepped foot on our campus. I feel Sherman deserved more respect for what he had done. When I arrived to A&M our school lost its first game to Arkansas State. Through my four years they had improved so much and made it all the way to number 9 in the nation and a Cotton Bowl game. One bad year lad to him getting canned which is fine, but I feel he should have been treated with more respect on the way out.

  109. I remember reading this blog in December before taking Dr. Shaub’s course and commending his insights and respect for what Sherman accomplished. I agree 100% with Elorm as well regarding the termination process, but in the end A&M was more concerned with a winning record than the integrity of our football team. Sherman did turn high school players to men, and he did this without compromising his own beliefs and his own values. I support the future of A&M with all of my heart, but still believe we need to hold our athletic departments accountable. One of the easiest ways to diminish our Aggie brand is by unethical decisions made by coaches and faculty that blow up with the social media today. I pray that his character is passed on to the next generation of coaches and students. Sumlin has coached under some of the smartest coaches, but he will have to follow in the footsteps of one of the wisest and honest.

  110. As many have said before the process in which the firing happened was downright sickening. I expect much more from this great university and we should live up to a much higher standard.

    As for Sherman, there is no doubt in my mind that he will succeed in his future role with the Miami Dolphins because of all those things Dr. Shaub mentioned about his character. We certaintly lost a great man and know that we are a much better university for getting to have him as our football coach for the short time that we did. While I am a supporter of the firing on the basis of lack of production on the football field, the way Texas A&M did it, is downright despicable and can not be allowed in the future. Coach Sherman went about it like a real gentleman and should be seen as a role model. You never want to burn bridges with anyone because you don’t know what the future has in store for you, and I for one, am glad that Sherman did his very best on trying to keep that from happening, despite A&M doing its best of it.

  111. When I first heard the news that Coach Sherman was being fired I was overcome with feelings of guilt and shame. As Dr. Shaub alluded to in his blog, Coach Sherman was a man of the highest integrity who demanded the same from his staff and players. Yet apparently it was the administration who really needed his tutelage in moral fiber because they displayed none of it when rewarding his years of service by firing him over the phone. What kind of message does that send to the students of A&M about the importance of our culture? And even more directly, what kind of message does that send to the incoming coach?

    I have learned in multiple courses taken in the business school that the culture of an organization comes from the leaders at the top. No matter what creeds or policies are written on paper, the real rules and values that define organizations can be found in the actions its leaders. And the actions taken by out administration concerning the termination of Coach Sherman define an organizational culture that I wouldn’t want to be associated with.

  112. In today’s athletic environment so much pressure is built upon the end result, but in my opinion, it is the path traveled that exposes the true winners in the race.
    I believe that Coach Sherman illustrated immense grace as he said farewell to his career and passion. His ability to take pride in his failures and accomplishments takes courage, dignity, and integrity (virtues rare to many). He truly exemplifies the Aggie Honor Code as he stands above those who have slandered his name and character. I have faith that the expectations and values Sherman set forth for his team and staff will have a lasting impact in the years to come.

  113. It is my opinion that Coach Sherman was one the finest coaches to grace Kyle Field, because of his character. It is unfortunate that his last season as an A&M coach was such a letdown. This past season was slated to be a year of reckoning for A&M football. We were ranked in the top 10 near the beginning of the season, we had several star players return, and we had a veteran coach. This is the main reason Mike Sherman was let go. Expectations of A&M football have grown exponentially in just the past few years, and the school became intolerant of failure. It was truly a shame to lose such a definitive role model. Mr. Sherman’s presence will be sorely missed.

  114. The article was very well worded and articulated truth in a very eloquent way, however, the concept of “total package” struck me as I was reading. While Sherman deserves to be commended for the reasons specified in the article, one of the accusations against him was that he was too prideful to hire an offensive coordinator. Whether this accusation is true or not, I will never know but the fact remains that the product displayed on the field was unacceptable. To recognize the man for what he succeeded at is one thing, and is something that should absolutely be done, but to paint him purely as a martyr is something different. Be it pride that caused him to overestimate his own abilities and kept him from delegating tasks, or a lack of wisdom and judgement that kept him from adapting to a different style of play, there were flaws in Mike Shermans approach to coaching. In an emotion filled, controversial situation such as the termination of a well loved, underperforming head coach, I believe it is essential to see the situation for what it is. It is essential that we applaud the positives, as done in the above article, yet not ignore or diminish the negatives. Learning from past failures is a driving factor in future success and to simply ignore the issues that contributed to unacceptable performance will only lead us to watching history repeat itself.

  115. I agree completly. It was really sad to see Coach Sherman go. I think he fit in with the A&M culture and represented Aggieland well. I wish him a great future at the Dolphins and glad he landed on his feet.

  116. I felt that Sherman had a great long-term plan that was starting to unfold well, and probably would have ended up with fantastic results, but he was a victim of the “now”. I completely agree that he was a fantastic man, mentor, and role model for those athletes to have. We were willing to let go a coach with integrity because of losses but this make me wonder, would we be ok with keeping a coach with no integrity because of wins?

  117. A great and frightening aspect of leadership is, at the end of the day, both success and failure fall on your sholders. People, unfortunately, are much better at taking credit for their share in succes than owning up to their contribution to a failed effort. In my opinion, great leaders share success and absorb failure. Mike Sherman did that well, and we are challenged to find more leaders like that to make decisions for this campus.

  118. Dr. Shaub, I agree with the integrity comments at the end of the post- one should not lecture on integrity because the best way to teach integrity is to demonstrate it. This is the case with many things in life. I was recently watching a youtube video of a young girl who was watching basketball with her father on TV. Everything the father said was repeated by the girl. The little girl approached her mother, who was videotaping the entire situation, and repeated what she had just learned from her father. I think this is an excellent representation of learning by example. From a young age, we learn by example. But the learning by example does not end here. Obviously, these players learned integrity through their coach. But this same thing follows into the business world. We learn to do what our bosses do and learn from our peers. We learn the business through others, but at some point have to make our own decisions about how to do business. If we are taught that integrity has no importance from the beginning, chances are that attitude will continue. If, however, we are taught from the beginning that strong morals are the path to success, chances are we will continue along our strong moral way. Thus the importance of walking the talk. If we want our children and our mentees to have strong ethics and morals, we need to be especially careful of what we do.

  119. I completely agree with the comments you made regarding Sherman’s emphasis on integrity and character above outcomes. I’ve played soccer all of my life, and I’ve experienced coaches who valued both sides of the spectrum. One coach in particular was known to hand out playing time based on a comination of effort, skill, and commitment to the team. Another coach just put the best player on the field, regardless of whether he showed up to practice, had a good attitude, or put in the effort. That coach set a standard for our team that allowed for compromising ones integrity and being completely selfish. Instead of working as a team, people were just in it for themselves. However, the other coach I had emphasized working together, team loyalty, and commitment, which created a better environment that pushed us to work harder. I learned much more from that coach, who taught me about character and integrity, than I did from the coach who just cared about outcomes. I think its important to focus not only on the end result, but on the way that the result was achieved.

  120. I really enjoyed reading this article and I am very inspired by Mike Sherman’s character, especially after being let go. It would have been easy for him to be bitter about being fired, but the fact that he encouraged a top recruit to come to A&M and wished him a great career proves that he wasn’t just coaching for the money. After what happened, he still cared about the players and still cared about Texas A&M, just like he did when he was our coach. Wins are important, but as a coach, the influence you have will leave a significant, lasting impact on the players and people around you. I respect Mike Sherman for not just focusing on winning, but on instilling values to his players that will make a difference in others’ lives.

  121. This is a great read, Dr. Shaub, even after most of the drama is long behind us. I’m sure most have forgotten about the situation given our success this past year in the SEC, but I for one have not. I was, and am, a huge Mike Sherman fan and saw many of the things you’ve listed in this article in him early on. He was a mountain of a man that lived his life according to unwavering and impenetrable principles that were manifested in everything he did, especially coaching.

    I’ve played sports all my life and had numerous coaches. In those relationships forged, I’ve had the opportunity to understand why coaches do what they do. A love for the game, the ability to coach sports and teach, stability, are all some of valid reasons. For Mike Sherman, though never knowing him, the answer was, and is, crystal clear: the ability to touch and mold young men’s lives into lives of integrity, respect, and excellence. He is somebody who took what he loved and used it to make a difference in others lives. I can only hope to be a fraction of the man that he is.

  122. This was a great article, and I couldn’t agree with you more. When I first heard the news about Sherman leaving A&M, I remember feeling as though I was the only person that felt bad for him. “I have seen people do everything right and get punished for it.” That quote says it all. There are many ways that one can react to such punishment. It is important to note that the chosen reaction is reflective of one’s character, which in Mike Sherman’s case, is an admirable one.

    • I agree with you Nicole. It is the most difficult times that our true character is tested and is displayed. Coach Sherman is clearly a man of integrity. It is sad the way A&M handled the situation and we lost a good man. After this past successful football season, as Dr. Shaub mentioned, it is apparent how Coach Sherman did pave the way for A&M’s future and he deserves that recognition.

  123. I have never known the other side to this. All I can remember are the times when I think we should have gone for 4th down and did not, or when this guy should have been playing and was not. But that is clearly not a fair assessment of who Coach Sherman is. I ran into him once at the Academy here in College Station, and he said, “excuse me, ma’am,” and kept on walking. His politeness still sticks with me considering I’m the one that ran into him, literally, probably because I was not paying attention. It’s reasons like Coach Sherman that brought me here to Aggieland, and it’s also people like Sumlin that will keep me here, but we did lose a good one.

  124. I think that this message is especially relevant today, over a year after its orignal posting. As the Aggie football program continues to succeed, the media will target Texas A&M and all eyes will be on the maroon and white. I have tremendous respect for a man that had his football players attend a lecture on integrity. It is my belief that all student-athletes should take an ethics class early on in their college career. This could prevent NCAA rule violations later on and help keep A&M players on the field.

    Coach Sherman seemed like a man that saw the bigger picture. The lasting impact that coaches have on these players transcends the sport, and the most important lessons are easily applied off the field. In my group’s ethics presentation, we looked at the ethicality of paying college athletes for their service to their school. However, I think that no payment is necessary when you have a coach like Coach Sherman. He would be a great guest speaker for our ethics class.

  125. Reading this post in 2013, it is amazing to see what has unfolded. Previously you mentioned about Sherman leaving a legacy for the next coach. That could not be more true than it is now. I am curious to see your viewpoint on if you think the football has more or less integrity than our current coach. With all the social media that is flying around today, I could see arguments that Sherman instilled that upon his football team more so than is today.

    • I agree with Scott. A legacy was defintiely left for the current coach, and my what he has done with that legacy. I remember thinking how unjust it was what was happening to Sherman and his family when all of this was happening. Like it was mentioned above, Sherman was building an athletic program based on values and integrity. So, was it really ethical to fire him? Was it his fault or the players fault the season ended so poorly? I applaud Sherman for sticking to his guns when he was under fire. I truly value someone who puts integrity and hard work over a show off who thinks they know it all. I do not question what Sherman did, I believe the players who show respect and hard work should be the ones on the field, just as he did.

  126. After watching multiple players get drafted to the NFL who played under, and grew up under Mike Sherman, it is evident that he did an excellent job sculpting these players into mature adults as well as strong players. I always thought that Sherman did an excellent job coaching off the field, but the on the field calls were at times questionable. As you noted, he left a strong core of players for Sumlin to work with coming in, and I think we can credit a lot of the 2012 season success to him.

  127. I was against the movement to fire Sherman. With last season’s success, I don’t think I can feel that way. Instant gratification with success is always persuasive. Unfortunately, good people get swept under the rug.

    I will always be reminded of Coach Sherman with Von Miller’s success. I really enjoy the story of how Sherman shaped Von with character, and how now he is one of the greatest ambassadors of this university. Sherman was a model of excellent behavior. I have listened to him talk many times and always left feeling encouraged. He was a man that instilled character in Aggieland.

    • Interesting to note the hindsight in this situation. I too, was truly disappointed in Sherman’s firing at the time. Not only the actual firing but also the method in which it was done. However this disappointment was quickly lost as the success of our team unfolded last fall. It’s easy to say that Texas A&M made the right choice. But what if we hadn’t? What if last season was a complete fail as everyone had expected?

  128. It’s easy to get caught up in looking at a football team’s win-loss record, especially here at this school. Some past seasons have been difficult to watch no doubt, and it can be even easier to blame the coach for the losses. After all, he is the final call on everything that goes on down on that field. But we must remember that there is so much more that goes on in sports than just what happens on the field. Its what happens in the locker room, during practice, or after a game. It’s sportsmanship, teamwork, and camaraderie. Coaches invest so much into their players because they know what they’re doing is more than just playing a sport. Coming from someone who has played several different sports on multiple teams, some of the most important lessons are learned in the locker room or talking to a coach. I think Coach Sherman understood that and wanted to leave his players with something more than just an athletic skill. You want to win and you want to be successful but you have to get there the right way, otherwise it’s not really success. True success as a coach should not be based solely on a W-L record.

  129. Looking back I believe one of the biggest testament to Mike Sherman’s character was the manner in which he dealt with it. We have all heard rumors about how and when he was released, but the one I have heard the most demonstrates to me who Coach Sherman is as a person. I have read from countless reports that Sherman had just pulled into the driveway of one of our top recruits when he recieved the call informing him that he would not be coaching the team the coming year. Instead of expressing anger or resentment, Coach Sherman stepped out of his car, went into the recruits house and said something along the following lines. He told the recruit he would not be the coach next season, but told him he should attend A&M because it is a great place, and that if he does he will do achieve great things.

    I feel that speaks greatly to his character as a person and a professional.

  130. It is crazy to see that 12 Aggies were picked up this year in the draft (5 in the draft and I think 7 in free agency). Most, if not all, were Shermans recruits. This is an unusually high number of Aggies to get picked up in the NFL. I want to believe with all my heart that Sherman had a big impact on this. That he was an example to players and they were able to learn from him on and off the field. I would hope Shermans legacy is left here at A&M and that coaches in the future would represent an Aggie as well as Sherman did.

  131. As with most situations, it is not the easy times that define us, but the difficult ones that do. The two qualities that are talked about in regard to Coach Sherman, integrity and character, are ones that serve an individual well no matter what environment they are in. Integrity or “doing things right” is often thought of as an internal consistency or wholeness that an individual possesses. Someone with integrity is thought of as honest, truthful, and always accurate in their actions. A person with integrity is highly valued. A person’s character is defined by moral and ethical qualities that they possess and defines their reputation. These qualities are developed and refined over time usually in the difficult times, not the easy ones. A person of character is one to have and keep as a friend.

    Integrity and character are admirable qualities that are highly sought after in the business world. With so many questionable and fraudulent business practices being highly publicized, one begins to wonder, “Where are the people of character and integrity?” They are here. However, as with most situations in life, the good are not the newsmakers. The good individuals which possess and display character and integrity steadily day after day are the glue that holds our world together. They are the unsung heroes of our society. These admirable people desirable our attention and applause.

  132. I feel that I got to meet Coach Sherman on multiple occasions and the way he handled his players was great. He expected them to uphold the aggie honor code. If a player would have gotten an MIP or not showed up t class then they would have not played. He even asked a Corps unit to make sure they are in every class and if they did not come that week then he would not be allowed to play that week. He did not let his players get away with anything that they shouldn’t! He expected them to be MEN & football players and that is something more football programs need.

    I feel like this post is even more relevant since the aggies did so well this year. He set the stage for Sumlin to create an awesome team. I know Sumlin can coach, but we shall see how he recruits whenever the Heisman hype dies down and he has to recruit based on A&M. I have high hopes for our aggie future.

  133. I, too, like so many people who have already commented on this post, was sad to see Sherman go. Unfortunately, some people’s lasting impression of Coach Sherman will be the blown second half leads, his refusal to acknowledge A&M’s move to the SEC, and that awful loss to t.u. I, however, will choose to remember the positive contributions Sherman made during his tenure: turning the program around after the Fran era, the increased number of Aggies in the NFL, and the character he inspired in his players. Here’s to Mike Sherman, a great man, a great coach, and a great Aggie.

  134. I loved this post more than anything! When I came to Texas A&M, everyone always talked about honor and tradition and the one person that I felt displayed it the most was Mike Sherman. As an athlete, I value a coach who is more invested in the person behind the player and not just if he/she can produce the win. There is something special about a coach requiring respect and integrity out of his players. So often coaches are caught up in the final record, and not what they had to sacrifice to get it. Sherman was not afraid to stand up for his belief in excellence and success and I believe he is the reason for a lot of this incredible past season. I hated to see Coach Sherman go, but I know that anywhere he goes, they are blessed to have him. He knows the value of being a true Aggie and regardless of his records, I think we all can learn something from him.

  135. At the time of his departure, I was angered about how our school had handled the situation. Sherman was able to take what was left of a once dominant program and turn them into a contender again. I was especially upset about they way he was let go, by phone call in a recruits driveway. However, looking back, I think all parties are better off with the current situation. Sherman is now the Offensive Coordinator with the Miami Dolphins, and A&M appears to have found the coach that will be able to sustain long-term success, not seen here since the days of Jackie Sherrill.

  136. I knew Coach Sherman and his family personally. Honestly, I don’t think there is another coach who displays more integrity than Coach Sherman. He was someone who I looked up to while in high school, someone who demanded respect from all his athletes. He wasn’t just about the wins and losses for A&M, he was developing men who would be successful in life, whether on the football field or in the working world. I have the utmost respect for him, and while it was hard to see him fired, I look forward to seeing what he can do in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.

  137. Honestly, I did not know much about coach Sherman before he left. Though, if I take your word on his character and his impact, then I completely agree that he was a sad loss to our school. I understand that a winning football team raises a lot of money for A&M but because of my moral beliefs, I would prefer to have a coach that makes it a priority to instill integrity and character in their lives. I would like to compare this to the business school. I think there is a general understanding amongst my peers that there are some professors who are at A&M to bring in money from their research and there are some professors that genuinely love to teach and make a positive impact in students’ lives. If you asked each student whom he or she would rather take a class from, most would prefer the 2nd. We know there is great value in that type of leadership position; something more special and worth the purpose of going to a university like A&M.

  138. When watching Coach Sherman’s final press conference a year and a half ago, you could very easily see that he was here to develop young men with integrity. Although he may have not been the right fit at A&M, his moral character was second to none.

    A year and a half after these events unfolded, Sherman’s integrity can still be seen in his players. Hearing Joeckel, Porter, and Swope talk about their experiences in Aggieland makes it clear that Coach Sherman had a profound impact on their lives.

  139. I agree. Coach Sherman was a great man and a great role model to the players he coached. However, like was stated earlier, the system has become more about winning than building men of character. But before he left Aggieland, Sherman had a profound impact on the players that he helped recruit. When interviewed throughout the season, players such as Swope, Joeckel, and even some of the younger guys, always passed along praise for their teammates when interviewers asked about their success. Sherman instilled great principles in these young men, and they will continue to benefit from them in the future.

  140. I completely agree with this blog. Coach Sherman was a humble person and a great role model to have for our young players. As you look back and see the football players that began their tenure when Sherman was here, you can see how they have taken him in as a role model and grown up. The football players are students jus like ourselves, yet we get the pleasure of watching them grow into a better human being, all thanks to Coach Sherman.

    Coach Sherman always believed in the school and his players. When games were lost, he was jus like anothe student sharing the same sorrows of a loss just as we would. But he would still encourage his team and motivate them to pick up their heads and continue to work.

    In simplier terms, Coach Sherman wasnt just a role model for his team, he was a great role model for the students and Texas A&M University

  141. I agree. I feel that Sherman wasn’t just a great coach, but a classy guy as well. When he was fired, he was supposedly in the middle of a recruiting meeting with a possible future Aggie for our team. He didn’t say a word about it, and went on and finished the meeting. I don’t know how many head coaches in the NCAA/NFL would have done that.

  142. I agree. Although winning is what keeps a coach his job, Coach Sherman sacrificed that to teach these young men that life is about more than just football. Like Keshav said, he found out about being fired, then met with the recruit anyway. That says a lot about his character, and that he practiced what he preached.

  143. Sherman’s ability to not place blame shows true strength of character. Sherman’s commitment to creating a culture of excellence, even at the expense of his job, is a necessary principal for all organizations that want to go far. Sherman was also a great role model in regard to his integrity. As Shaub said, the players didn’t need to listen to him talk about integrity, they simply needed to watch his actions. That is a powerful statement which speaks to his sincerity as a leader. Its easy to say the right things, but often difficult to “walk the walk.”

  144. I really enjoyed this blog. While I cannot say that I did not complain about Sherman or call for his firing a few times during his last season, I have always heard great things about the way he handled his players. I felt that this was most evident by the player outrage and support for Sherman after his firing was announced. While I do think that his ability instill a sense of character in our players will be missed here, I think his coaching style is one that does not work in the college football world.

    Sherman was known for being “hands off” in a sense when it came to things like outside workouts and pushing hard in practice. He expected his players to have a sense of duty to the team and possess the ability to self motivate, like his players in the NFL did. However, these are 18-22 year old boys, some of which have never had any structure in their lives. Sherman is (from what I can tell) a good man and a good coach, but his place is in the pros. Now had Sumlin not worked out as well as he has, I might be singing a different tune, but looking back now, I truly think everyone is where they belong: Sherman with the Dolphins, and Sumlin with us.

  145. The point that stood out to me the most when reading this blog was Coach Sherman’s willingness to be held accountable for losses. I believe appointed and self-appointed leaders should be willing to be held accountable for what others perceive to be a failure. It is reality that when undesirable situations occur, the ability, experience, and foresight of a leader is automatically questioned. Such situations can be observed with presidents, CEO’s, and board of directors.

    In essence, accepting a leadership position is making the statement that you are most capable or most qualified to effectively handle the worst situations and organize efforts and resources at the most inconvenient of times. This implies that someone who is considered the most qualified will also be held at the same accountability. Coach Sherman understood the terms of accepting the head coach position and had the maturity to understand that he will be held accountable for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Therefore, he reacted in an honorable manner and did not look down or to the side to point the blame. This leads to a point made in the blog. A high level of maturity to react in an ethical way and a strong sense of accountability allowed Coach Sherman to fit Kipling’s definition of a ‘man’. Overall, the blog is great for anyone who aspires to be a leader and want to understand the reality of the role. From this writing, readers can understand that a strong sense of accountability ties into the ethics of being a leader.

  146. This is a great example of a person doing his part to establish a great environment even though he won’t be around to see the end result of it. I have always thought of what would motivate me to do the right thing even if I will be punished for it. This example is the answer to that. If we all strive to do our part, it will make a difference, even if we don’t actually see it.

  147. Reading this post it honestly make me sympathetic for Mike Sherman. However, the impersonal nature of the coaching industry is one that he chose. It seems to me that ethics should always be the forefront of any career. At the same time an individual still has to perform up to the standard of their position. If not they should be relieved of their duty. Sadly this is a harsh evaluation, but it is reality.

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