Franchione out at Texas A&M. For good. As in this past Friday afternoon, right after the Aggies beat the Longhorns 38-30, when Franchione was kind enough to actually alert the public to his resignation.
Upon entry, Franchione set off smoke bombs and watched as a REAL LIVE RANGER TEAM swept into the room and exemplified good teamwork. Then he spilled a pitcher of water on the microphone, blaming those around him for poor microphone placement and unconscionable lack of commitment to the team concept. He then alleviated the problem of poor microphone placement by passing out t-shirts emblazoned with a motto "PLACE THE MICROPHONE CORRECTLY," a refrain for the remainder of the press conference to encourage all of them to work together for the production of a quality press conference.
Henry Kissinger once said of Richard Nixon that his genius as a liar lay in lying "when it was not even necessary." Some coaches actually seem like people doing their damndest to compete, ekeing out every imaginable advantage and taking wins and losses hard at the marrow at in the mind, giving their every atom to each moment of effort. Brainless as he was in his tenure at Florida, we never doubted the commitment of [NAME REDACTED]. His talent, yes; his ability, sure; his commitment to the cause? Never.
Franchione never seemed to pass the sniff test on being fully human, playing at the role of coach and relying on a hodgepodge of melodramatic motivational speech tactics, hackneyed sloganeering, and myopic gameplanning with a faux-audacious flair. He has, since his ascent into the public eye at Alabama, seemed creepily aware of the public relations aspect of being a head coach, using his ghostwritten website to put a sunny slant on the ghastliest of events like the loss to Miami this year.
The attention to propping up the public image would not wax as odd if the on-field persona of the Aggie team paralleled the rapid-response diligence of the amorphous "we" of Team Franchione, Media Division. The Aggies see-sawed through Franchione's tenure: 19-21 in the Big 12 and never consistent enough to merit the price of Franchione's melange of high expectations and wader-deep bullshit tossed out by the shovelful in press conferences and website posts on the now-defunct coachfran.com.
And that's the moment the scales fell from the eyes of many observers and Aggie fans: the revelation that Fran had his personal commentary monkey, Mike McKenzie, selling exclusive updates on the team to select boosters for $1,200 a year. There's your vampire/mirror moment: while Franchione was struggling to score points and go .500 in conference, he was making a quick buck off the privilege afforded him by his position. The Franchiones of the world are easy to spot; they're the ones parking their limousines in the fire lanes of New York at the UN, or selling boxes of vaccines off the back of their agency trucks in war zones.
This isn't to suggest Franchione wasn't without his moments of genius. Most occurred off-the-field, where he managed to convince people the Aggies were mere slivers of effort away from improvement. He stocked the schedule with live koi and went dynamite fishing, inflating his record with victories against the Sam Houston States of the world. He hornswaggled the media in College Station with ersatz charm and the well-composed talking point. And, as a real genius liar would, he lied even when it was unnecessary to do so.
Give him points for actually saying good-bye to his team in person this time, though. This marks an improvement over the last time he hurriedly left a job.