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Texas A&M names Darnell as interim head coach

11:36 PM CST on Saturday, November 24, 2007

By BRIAN DAVIS / The Dallas Morning News
brdavis@dallasnews.com

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M defensive coordinator Gary Darnell has been named the interim head coach for the Aggies' upcoming bowl game, athletic director Bill Byrne announced Saturday.

Darnell, 59, is a temporary replacement for Dennis Franchione, who resigned Friday after A&M defeated No. 13 Texas, 38-30, at Kyle Field. A university source said Darnell is not considered to be on the short list of potential replacements.

When he was hired in December 2005, Darnell signed a three-year contract with a base salary of $285,000, according to his contract obtained through open records.

"Gary has head coaching experience, and our young men and coaching staff respect him," Byrne said in a prepared statement released by the university. "He will lead our team in our bowl preparations and during the game."

Darnell was named an interim head coach at Florida in 1989. He was the head coach at Western Michigan from 1997 to 2004. Darnell replaced Carl Torbush on Franchione's staff after the 2005 season.

"I have a great deal of faith in our staff and our players," Darnell said in a prepared statement. "The values and virtues they have learned throughout their career here at Texas A&M will help deal with this situation. They have a great deal of character."

It's still unclear which bowl game A&M (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) will land in. The Alamo, Independence and Texas Bowl are possibilities.

No meeting scheduled: Erle Nye, a member of the A&M board of regents, said Saturday that no special meeting has been called to ratify the contract settlement with former coach Dennis Franchione.

The next regularly scheduled A&M regents meeting is Dec. 6-7 in College Station.

Franchione's contract states that the coach was due $8.5 million for the remaining five years of the deal. However, Franchione is expected to receive far less, probably between $2 million and $3 million.

"I think the mood of the board would be to treat Fran fairly and appreciate all he's done for the school," Nye said. "We were proud to have him come on campus, and things didn't work out the way he wanted, and neither did they for anybody else. But there were some good times, and I think highly of [Franchione's wife] Kim and Fran.

"From my part, they'll always be welcome back on the campus."

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