The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana on December 30, 2000 · Page 61
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The Times from Shreveport, Louisiana · Page 61

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Shreveport, Louisiana
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Saturday, December 30, 2000
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Page 61
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THE TIMES - www.shreveporttirhes.conl 25th Independence Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Texas A&IVI SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2000' ' 7F- Coaches' frayed relationship enhances game's allure Sherrill, Slocum show respect, little more as reunion nears. By Brian Vernellis The Times The "hug" gets quite a bit of play in the Texas A&M football media guide. In the six-page outline of A&M's football history, the photo is right at the top of the second page. If Texas A&M knocks off Mississippi Suite New Year's Eve in the 2(XX) Independence Bowl, another bear hug reminiscent of the one Paul "Bear" Bryant clamped on his former player Gene Stallings in the 1968 Cotton Bowl shouldn't be forecast and is highly unlikely. Instead, a firm and hearty handshake is all fans will probably get out of Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill and Texas A&M head coach RC. Slocum. Circumstances were a little different in the Cotton Bowl. Bryant had coached Stallings at A&M in the mid-50's. After Stallings' Aggies upended Bryant's Crimson Tide, teacher lifted his former player up into the air. At the 2000 Independence Bowl, it's not coach vs. former player, but boss vs. former assistant. "I've been in the business for a long time, there's a lot of things when you're looking at going to a bowl game," Sherrill said. "One, what's the entertainment like for the players and the fans? There's no question State and A&M would be a bigger game than (us playing Texas Tech or Iowa State). Not that the other two aren't good teams, it's just that the matchup and certainly the national stoiy. This is also a big game for ESPN." Sherrill coached at A&M for seven seasons, rebounding from two losing seasons in his first three years to earn three straight Southwest Conference championships. Slocum, the originator of the "Wrecking Crew" defense, was the defensive coordinator under Sherrill. Sherrill left the university after the 1988 season amid serious allegations he tainted the program, courtesy of an NCAA investigation. Slocum inherited the Aggies with SherriU's recommendation. Since then, Slocum has eclipsed everything his predecessor laid out without any NCAA probes. In his 12 seasons, he has double the wins Sherrill accumulated in seven. The two obviously have their working ties, which over time haven't been severed, but are certainly frayed. Mutual respect is one phrase which pops to mind. Aside from that, expect nothing but politeness and cordiality. Naturally, the two were in attendance for the Independence Bowl's welcoming party for the teams at the CenturyTel Center earlier this month. After each addressed the crowd, the two exchanged handshakes and posed for photographers. Even when asked about the job his successor has done, Sherrill naturally remained complimentary, but succinct. "(RC's) done a good job," SheiTill said. "You know I recommended him. He's very good with the community. He's a good football coach. He's a good recruiter. "A&M has done a good job. A&M is a great institution, always has been. They have done things to compete and to stay competitive. In the state of Texas, you have two institutions Texas and Texas A&M." Slocum had similar remarks about Sherrill. "Jackie and I never had any problems," he said. "He was very supportive of me. In fact, I was defensive coordinator when he moved me to assistant head coach and than he rec-onunended me for the job when he left. I've always been grateful to him for that. Slocum On top of their game Texas A&M's R.C. Slocum and Mississippi State's Jackie Sherrill are among the winningest coaches in college football. Sherrill Rnk. Coach, school Yrs. W L T Pet T Phil Fulmer, Tennessee 9 84 17 6 132" 2. Bobby Bowden, Florida State 35 315 86 4 .783 3. Lloyd Carr, Michigan 6 57 16 0 .781 4. Joe Paterno, Penn State 35 322 90 3 .780 5. Steve Spurrier, Florida 14 132 37 2 .778 6. R.C. Slocum, Texas A&M 12 109 36 2 .748 7. Dennis Erickson, Oregon St. 15 130 46 1 .737 8. Butch Davis, Miami 6 50 20 0 .714 9. Rick Neuheisel, Washington 6 50 20 0 .714 10. John Robinson, UNLV 14 114 48 4 .699 11. John Cooper, Ohio State 24 192 83 6 .694 12. Bill Snyder, Kansas State 12 98 43 1 .694 13. Paul Pasqualoni, Syracuse 15 115 53 1 .683 14. Dennis Franchione, Alabama 18 138 65 2 .678 15. Lou Holte, South Craolina 29 223 110 7 .666 16. Gary Pinkie, Missouri 10 73 37 3 .659 17. Fisher DeBerry, Air Force 17 134 72 1 .650 18. Jackie Sherrill, Miss. State 23 171 93 4 .646 19. Sonny Lubick, Col, State 12 87 48 0 .644 20. John L. Smith, Louisville 12 92 51 0 .643 21. George Oleary, Ga. Tech 7 45 27 0 .625 22. Nick Saban, LSU 7 50 30 1 .624 23. Frank Beamer.Va. Tech 20 140 84 4 .623 24. Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin 11 78 48 4 .615 25. Joe Tiller, Purdue 10 72 45 1 .614 Note: Records through end of 2000 regular season. 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