Texas State will name Dennis Franchione as its new head football coach Friday, according to reports.
The university is holding a press conference Friday, 2 p.m., at Bobcat Stadium to announce its new football coach.
ESPN and the San Antonio Express-News both cited unnamed sources in their reports that Franchione was headed back to San Marcos 20 years after coaching the Bobcats to two winning seasons. Accepting the head coaching position at New Mexico in 1992, Franchione’s career rose for the next 15 years through New Mexico, Texas Christian, Alabama and Texas A&M.
Franchione, 59, has been out of coaching since his resignation from Texas A&M in 2007. He would be put in charge of a Texas State football program making the jump to the bowl level in 2012, when it joins the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).
Others candidates reported to have gone deep into the process for the Texas State position are former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster, San Diego State defensive coordinator Rocky Long, Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and Oklahoma assistant Bobby Jack Wright.
The high point for Franchione came at Texas Christian, where his first team in 1998 finished 7-5 with a Sun Bowl win over Southern California, a huge step up from TCU’s 1-10 output a year earlier. With a huge assist from running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Franchione started TCU’s long rise to its present place among the nation’s leading teams. Franchione’s three-year record at TCU was 25-10.
His performance there earned a turn with one of the nation’s elite programs at Alabama, which had fallen on hard times and NCAA sanctions under former head coach Mike DuBose. Inheriting a team that finished 3-8 in 2000, Franchione guided the 2001 Crimson Tide to a 7-5 record and its first bowl win in five years. The Tide rose to 10-2 and won the West Division of the Southeastern Conference in 2002, but was ineligible for the league championship game due to NCAA sanctions.
The NCAA had more sanctions in store for the Tide, including a two-year bowl ban, five years of probation and double-digit scholarship losses. The university offered Franchione a 10-year contract extension for $15 million. Franchione said he would not leave Alabama, but did not sign the offer.
In 2003, Franchione seized the opportunity to return to Texas, where Texas A&M had let go of R.C. Slocum. But the immediate improvements Franchione forged at TCU and Alabama did not occur at A&M. The Aggies were 16-19 in Franchione’s first three seasons. However, a 9-3 performance in 2006 raised the possibility that A&M was headed in the right direction.
That direction turned against Franchione in 2007. University officials were embarrassed by the revelation that Franchione profited from a secret newsletter for which boosters paid $1,200 annually for specific injury information, recruiting news from the coach and the coach’s critical views of players. The university issued a letter of admonishment against Franchione.
Then, the team crumbled. After winning their first three games, the Aggies rose to 16th in the national rankings. But they lost, 34-17, on the road to unranked Miami and tumbled from the rankings. The Aggies won their next two and rose to 5-1, but proceeded to drop four of their next five, three of them by double-digit margins.
The losses, combined with the newsletter, compelled Franchione to resign immediately after a 38-30 win against Texas at Kyle Field. A&M finished the 2007 season 7-6, losing the Alamo Bowl to Penn State, 24-17, under interim coach Gary Darnell. The university gave Franchione a $4.4 million buyout for a contract that had five years remaining.
Franchione led Texas State (then Southwest Texas State) to records of 6-5 in 1990 and 7-4 in 1991. The Bobcats never again posted back-to-back winning seasons until 2008 and 2009 under Brad Wright.
However, the Bobcats lost six of their last seven games under Wright in 2010, falling to 4-7. Just as the season ended, Texas State accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 2012, boosting the football program to the Football Bowl Championship (FCS) level. Texas State announced that Wright was being let go two days after the season ended.Email | Print