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Jackie Hits The Jackpot
Douglas S. Looney
February 01, 1982
Texas A&M Iured Jackie Sherrill from Pittsburgh for the most bucks ever offered a football coach
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February 01, 1982

Jackie Hits The Jackpot

Texas A&M Iured Jackie Sherrill from Pittsburgh for the most bucks ever offered a football coach

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Do you think the priorities are out of whack?

"That's reasonable to say. No, wait, let's say that priorities are different for different people."

So how do you feel about the priority given football around here?

"I can deplore it but I also can understand it."

Are things settling down?

"Sure. When the shrapnel ceases coming through the walls, that's a hint things are getting better."

But did the university debase itself as an academic institution?

"No, it only embarrassed itself."

Indeed, the handling of The Sherrill Thing was atrocious. It happened that way simply because some members of the Board of Regents took the bit in their teeth and decided to work out the football problem their way. Chairman Bright was branded the heavy, but he pleads innocent. "I recommended a name for the job and it didn't fly," he says. "Nobody liked my man." Two other regents, William A. McKenzie of Dallas and John Blocker of Houston, were instrumental in hiring Sherrill. They and like-minded colleagues generally ignored the niceties of consultation; they often left Vandiver in the dark. Says Vandiver of the regents' action, "It was their perfect right and their procedural error. The way this was done shows considerable disarray."

And the timing was horrible. If the regents had wanted to fire Wilson, who led the team to a 7-5 record in 1981, including an Independence Bowl victory, they should have done it in December. Recruiting was hampered by rumors that Wilson might be going. Holtz even telephoned Bright and urged him to consider better timing, Bright didn't. So did you hear the one about the Aggie who named his pet zebra Spot?

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