Tag:Bill Byrne
Posted on: February 20, 2012 2:08 pm
 

Arkansas, A&M to meet on campus next two years



Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In something of a surprise, the Arkansas-Texas A&M series will continue to be played as a neutral-site contest at Arlington's Cowboys Stadium--but only after a two-year on-campus hiatus.

The Razorbacks and Aggies had previously agreed to a 10-year nonconference series to be played at Jerry Jones' space palace, and after three meetings still had seven contests left on the contract. But with A&M joining the SEC and turning the series into an annual conference rivalry game, the Aggies were reportedly less excited about keeping the game off campus. But A&M athletic director Bill Byrne nonetheless announced Saturday that the 2012 meeting would be played at the Aggies' Kyle Field, with the 2013 matchup moving to Arkansas and the game returning to Cowboys Stadium in 2014.

The arrangement would appear to represent a compromise, with one Aggie official having said in December that A&M would "never" want to play the Razorbacks in Arlington again, thanks to an SEC regulation that prevents teams from hosting recruits at off-campus sites. But with Arkansas preferring to maintain an annual recruiting foothold in the Lone Star State, Bobby Petrino made no secret of his desire to keep the game at the neutral site.  

With a full three years still between Saturday's announcement and the two teams' return to Arlington -- and the issues that led to the move on campus for 2012 and 2013 not going way -- it's possible that some other hurdle might be thrown in the way of continuing the series at Cowboys Stadium. But for now, it looks like those remaining seven games will be played as originally planned.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 7:51 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 7:57 pm
 

Texas A&M adds Louisiana Tech as 2012 opener

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Texas A&M's move to the SEC has forced a few alterations to their 2012 schedule and it appears the Aggies are going about changing it in a very un-SEC fashion: scheduling harder.

Instead of opening the upcoming season with McNeese State, A&M will now be headed to Shreveport, La. to take on Louisiana Tech, Aggies athletic director Bill Byrne wrote on his blog Wednesday.
"We’re trying to have no more than one Div. 1-AA or FCS team on our schedule, but we may end up having to schedule two. Making this switch was the only way to work it out with Louisiana Tech. It was reported earlier this week that I had conversations with Florida State about being a part of our schedule. They needed a game after West Virginiadropped from their schedule. We tried to make it work, but couldn’t.

Our options were limited due to conference realignment. We expect the scheduling process to go much smoother in the future."

The Bulldogs will likely be the favorite in the WAC as they return 16 starters from a successful 2011 season that saw the program win the conference and narrowly lose to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl. The opener for both teams will also move to Thursday, August 30 and Louisiana Tech will return to Kyle Field in 2016. A $200,000 buyout will be paid to McNeese State to get out of the contract.

Because of conference realignment, the school had been looking for two non-conference games and still have an open spot for the weekend of November 17. Texas A&M's home opener will double as their SEC introduction on September 8, when they host Florida. Byrne also remarked that there was no update regarding the location of the game with Arkansas, which had previously been a non-conference tilt at Cowboys Stadium but was expected to be changed to a home-and-home between the two schools. A&M will also host South Carolina State on September 22nd.

The Aggies will officially join the SEC on July 1, 2012 after wrapping up play in the Big 12 with a 7-6 season in 2011 that was capped with a win in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:33 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 3:41 pm
 

Texas Tech AD: No A&M games 'any time soon'

Posted by Chip Patterson

Texas A&M's move to the SEC after the completion of this academic year will end many of the Aggies' traditional football and basketball rivalries. Many have mourned the end of the annual Texas-Texas A&M matchups, but that won't be the only Lone Star rivalry that is coming to an end. Texas Tech will also no longer face the Aggies on a regular basis, and Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt does not believe it will happen again "any time soon."

Hocutt told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal this week that the Red Raiders won't schedule Texas A&M in any sport unless the two schools commit to compete in all sports.

“We discussed it with all our head coaches,” Hocutt said, “and that’s something we as an athletic department and we as a group of coaches feel strongly about at this time.

“Our football schedule is set for the next two years. We’ll see if anything happens in the near future. But if down the road they’re interested in having that conversation, we would be willing to engage in it as well.”

Hocutt acknowledged that he has had conversations with Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne, but does not foresee any developments occurring in the near future.

“Any time you lose those games it’s unfortunate,” Hocutt said. “And it’s unfortunate that they’re not going to be in our league as we move forward. But that’s water under the bridge and if the rivalry can be resumed at some point in the future, then that would be considered at that time.”

The loss of the Texas Tech - Texas A&M rivalry is just another casualty of conference realignment. For all the latest news and updates, check out our Conference Realignment home.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 8:03 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 1:08 am
 

Texas A&M OL Villavisencio dies in car accident

Posted by Tom Fornelli and Adam Jacobi

The Aggies have lost a member of their family. Texas A&M suffered a tragedy on Thursday afternoon when offensive lineman Joseph Villavisencio died in a car accident. The 22-year old was on his way home to Jacksonville, Florida for the holidays when he got into the fatal collision.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Villasencio was trying to avoid an animal in his lane but couldn't get back into his own lane in time before colliding with an 18-wheeler. Villasencio was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

"Joey V was a tremendous person and a great Aggie," tweeted Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne. "He was an excellent student. This is a sad day for Texas A&M and our hearts are broken."

"The world lost a very special person today," former Texas A&M head football coach Mike Sherman said. "My heart aches for his mom, dad and sister, all of whom were so dear to him. His teammates, coaches and fellow students will remember him as someone who would do anything for anybody. I will always remember him as always offering me a smile whenever we talked and would always answer my questions with a simple, 'yes, coach' or 'no, coach'. He was one of the most respectful and high character players I have ever coached. It was an honor and privilege to have known him, and to have coached him. Although his life on this earth was way too short, his impact on the people he met will be everlasting. I will never forget him."

Earlier on Thursday, Villavisencio had participated in a toy giveaway with his teammates at the Twin City Mission in Bryan, Texas, according to Texas A&M. The team had purchased gifts for children and families in need, and was giving them away at the event.

Texas A&M is scheduled to meet in Houston on Tuesday, December 27, to begin final preparation for the December 31 Meineke Car Care Bowl against Northwestern.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 12:27 pm
 

Report: Calhoun interviews for A&M job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne is in New York this week, and he's getting some work done while he's there as A&M looks to replace Mike Sherman. He's reportedly interviewed a number of different candidates this week and the latest candidate according to the Houston Chronicle is Air Force's Troy Calhoun.

According to the paper Calhoun had an interview with Byrne on Tuesday.

The report also says that Byrne has met with Kevin Sumlin, Larry Fedora -- who has since accepted the North Carolina job --Alabama's Kirby Smart along with Calhoun over the last two days. Sumlin is still believed to be the frontrunner for the job.

Calhoun has been at Air Force since 2007 and has had his name come up at numerous jobs the last few seasons, as he was even a candidate for the Denver Broncos job earlier this year, but he's yet to leave the service academy. He's 41-23 in his five seasons at Air Force, and has gone to a bowl game in every season.

Texas A&M is hoping to have its new coach by the end of the week, and the report says an announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 1:02 pm
 

A&M associate AD calls school president a 'putz'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Texas A&M may still be trying to figure out what the future of Mike Sherman is at the school, odds are there may be some disagreements among members of the school's administration. After all, no matter where you work or what you do, you aren't going to agree with everybody you work with. You might even think your boss is an idiot, though you probably wouldn't say that to their face if you want to keep your job.

Well, we now know for sure that there's somebody in the Texas A&M administration who isn't exactly a big fan of school president R. Bowen Loftin. The school's athletics department chief financial officer and senior associate athletic director, Jeff Toole, recently went on a Texas A&M message board at TexAgs.com and called Loftin a "putz," though he did it under the anonymous username of UtayAg. 

Too bad his username wasn't as anonymous as he thought it was.
Jeff Toole, A&M athletics' chief financial officer and senior associate athletic director, admitted on Tuesday that he has disparaged A&M president R. Bowen Loftin on TexAgs — dubbing Loftin a “putz” and a “hopelessly underqualified puppet” — under the alias of UtayAg.

“I was posting what I thought was an anonymous opinion,” Toole said Tuesday.

Toole was ratted out on the website by a poster dubbed “iPanic” who searched UtayAg's posting history and found one from May 5, 2010, where UtayAg identifies himself as the Aggies' CFO for athletics.

“That slipped my mind,” Toole said Tuesday when asked why he thought he was posting anonymously when he already had identified himself under the handle.
Oops!

Loftin is aware of the remarks according to his spokesman Jason Cook.

“President Loftin is aware of the posts and discussed the situation with athletic director Bill Byrne (Tuesday) afternoon," said Cook in an email to the San Antonio Express-News. "At this point, we are handling this situation as a personnel matter, and we will decline to comment further, in accordance with our standard practice.” 

Toole has apologized and admits that his job may be in jeopardy because of this, and I'm inclined to agree with him.
Posted on: November 30, 2011 12:04 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 12:05 pm
 

Mike Sherman should be nervous

Posted by Tom Fornelli

There have been a lot of head coaches fired since Saturday, as there are openings now across the country in just about every conference. There have also been a lot of questions about Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman's future at the school for most of the season, as the Aggies finished the year 6-6 suffering a number of collapses along the way. Still, to this point Sherman still has his job, though if he heard his boss talking on Wednesday, he can't be feeling very confident.

Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin talked to the Bryan-College Station Eagle and when asked about the future of the program and Mike Sherman, Loftin didn't exactly sound like he was committing to anything.

"I've been talking to [athletic director] Bill Byrne for the last couple weeks," Loftin said. "We're thinking hard about [the season and the future]."

Now while that comment doesn't sound totally damning given that Loftin speaks of a process that generally takes place at every school, compare it to what Loftin told the Austin American-Statesman last week before the loss against Texas.

"As far as I'm concerned, yes, [Sherman will return in 2012]" Loftin told the Statesman. "We don't want to make any hasty moves, and we look forward to him being our football coach in the future."

Quite a change in tone, no?

I've wondered about Sherman's status all season simply because the Aggies problems in 2011 seem to fall more on the coaching staff than the team itself. It's had injuries, yes, but at the same time the Aggies haven't done anything to correct the mistakes that have littered the team all season. Instead of making adjustments, it has felt like Texas A&M has just crossed its fingers and hoped it wouldn't happen again.

Combine that with the fact that the school is moving to the SEC next season, and it might want to go into a new conference with a fresh start rather than a coach who is on the hot seat.
Posted on: November 25, 2011 2:05 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 11:57 am
 

Texas sends A&M to SEC with stinging rivalry loss

Posted by Bryan Fischer

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- It said it all.

Texas' band spelled out 'Thanks aTm" and played Thanks for the Memories as the Kyle Field crowd politely applauded. It was in many ways the warmest moment the two schools had in months, if not years.

For Longhorns and Aggies alike, the memory of the 118th and final scheduled time the two schools play will last.

It will hurt for some and be the source of bragging rights for others.

Texas' come back victory on Thanksgiving night was anything but a line in the record books that reads "Texas 27, Texas A&M 25."

The pain - the anguish - that typically lingers from every game will last a bit longer for the maroon side after Thursday. The pride - the jubilation - will last even longer for the burnt orange side.

"Sports can be really cruel," head coach Mack Brown said. "It was a great college football game. I don't think you can call either team a team that loses. We're the ones that had more points on the board."

The poignant thank you from the band at halftime might have been the final 'good' memory for Aggies as members of the Big 12 conference, witnessing yet another second half collapse in a season full of them.

"it seems like it's the same comment," coach Mike Sherman said. "This is a devastating loss for out team.

"I take nothing away from Texas, they played well, but it's a game we should have won and didn't."

Same old story for the Aggies, who once again said "Gag'em" after a first half full of "Gig'ems."

The third quarter was A&M's achilies heel, as Texas capitalized on turnovers to swing a 7-16 deficit into a 24-16 lead.  Despite a double-digit lead for the 11th time this season, the Aggies squandered it with two Ryan Tannehill interceptions - one returned for a touchdown - and mistake after mistake.

The team fell to 6-6 on the season thanks to flipping the switch to 'off' during halfitime, A&M outscored 86-0 in the third quarter alone in each loss.

"Well I think if you look at the games, we definitely have turned the ball over too many times," Sherman said. "We have to make the plays we have to make."

The Aggies didn't, the Horns did, the story of the series that Texas now leads 76-37-5. Tannehill's pick-six made it a two-point game. A punt on the next drive resulted in a 81-yard Quandre Diggs return and an eventual field goal to take the lead. Yet another interception put the Longhorns in business deep in A&M territory before senior Cody Johnson punched it in for a one-yard touchdown.

All it took was 13 plays and 27 offensive yards to completely snatch momentum away in a game that the Aggies didn't need to win as much as they couldn't lose.

"It was an emotional night," quarterback Case McCoy said. "We didn't play well at all the first half but our defense got us back in it. I'm proud of how hard we fought."

Case was the latest McCoy to torment Texas A&M. After what looked to be a game winning drive following Jeff Fuller's 16 yard catch and run to muscle into the end zone, McCoy took over an offense that had struggled all night. But he made the play of the game on a 25-yard scramble right up the middle to set up Justin Tucker's game-winning 40-yard field goal.

"What a great feeling to end this rivalry and celebrate Thanksgiving," McCoy said, minutes after sharing an emotional hug with offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, who was 3-1 against A&M himself.

The Aggies end their football tenure in the Big 12 with a loss, closing the book on an era in which they won just one conference title. The first line of the fight song late in the game was perhaps the saddest, most painful of all the Lone Star Showdowns because it meant far more than 'we'll see you in 365.'

"Goodbye Texas University…" the Kyle Field crowd sang in unison, swaying in different directions for the final time in 2011. The third-longest rivalry in major college football was, suddenly, over.

"It's Texas but...," A&M running back Ben Malena, the lone bright spot on the night with 93 all-purpose yards, "We're going to the SEC, we have bigger and better things to worry about."

"It's one of the great traditions we have in college athletics," athletic director Bill Byrne remarked. "But it's just part of the change".

"It takes two to sign a contract. We've expressed sincere interest in every sport to continue the relationship. So far we've had no takers. The question doesn't need to be asked of me, it needs to be asked of (Texas AD DeLoss) Dodds."

The Longhorns seem to want no part of it. As soon as Tucker's field goal went through the uprights, they ran straight to the 'Lone Star Showdown' logo and jumped with joy. Players started an "S-E-C" chant. The Longhorn Network's twitter account provided the final salt in the wounds however.

"Goodbye and Good Luck."

As the Longhorns left Kyle Field for what could be the last time in decades, they did so with as satisfying a win as ever. The only team Texas A&M has lost to from the state in two years: the University of Texas.

Thanks for the memories indeed.

 
 
 
 
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