COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M turned to a former assistant to lead the program back to prominence.
Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman was hired at A&M Monday, three days after Dennis Franchione resigned.
Sherman, an assistant head coach with the Houston Texans for two seasons, will return to the school where he was the offensive line coach from 1989-93 and in 1995-96 under R.C. Slocum.
"It's like coming back home," Sherman said. "I told my wife, you can unpack the boxes on this move. I've moved about 10 times in my career. You can put up the pictures and throw the boxes away, because we're going to be here awhile."
Sherman signed a seven-year contract that will pay him $1.8 million a year.
"I've had opportunities at other jobs I didn't take," Sherman said. "I've been a head coach. I know what it's going to take to be a head coach. I understand the commitment and sacrifice my family's going to have to make. So I'm not going to delve into something unless I feel like we have a legitimate chance to win championships."
The formal announcement came with plenty of symbolism.
|Sherman was on the Texas A&M staff for two different stints. (AP)|
Franchione alienated himself from many of the program's old guard, and athletic director Bill Byrne said he hoped to rebuild some of those connections by bringing Sherman back.
"We have a wonderful, rich tradition here," Byrne said. "I wanted to make sure that whoever we had come in here would be able to bridge the issues we had previously and build on strengths we had in the past. Mike can certainly do that."
Slocum and Franchione had an icy relationship and Slocum didn't pass up a chance to bring up A&M's successes before Franchione arrived.
"If you look at the history of this school, in the decade of the 1990s, we won almost 77 percent of our games," Slocum said. "I also happen to think our best days are ahead of us. There is an expectation that we take it a notch higher than what it's been."
Franchione, who earned about $2 million annually, took a contract buyout and stepped down Friday, less than an hour after Texas A&M upset rival Texas 38-30. Defensive coordinator Gary Darnell was made the interim coach Saturday and will lead the Aggies (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) through their bowl game.