SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) — Dennis Franchione, who started the turnaround at TCU before sudden departures as coach at Alabama and Texas A&M, retired quietly Tuesday after his second stint at Texas State.
The 64-year-old Franchione spent the last five of his 30 seasons as a head coach at Texas State, where he returned after a three-year hiatus following his abrupt resignation the night the Aggies beat rival Texas in his final game in College Station in 2007.
“My heart and appreciation goes out to our football players at Texas State, and all of those I have been fortunate enough to coach during my career,” Franchione said. “I feel very strongly about what this game does for young people.”
Franchione’s career took off after he left New Mexico for TCU in 1998 and led the Horned Frogs from a 1-10 record before he arrived to a 7-5 mark that included a breakthrough win over Southern California in the Sun Bowl.
Two years later, Franchione took the job at Alabama but stayed for just two years. He left for Texas A&M after going 10-3 and finishing first in the SEC West when the Crimson Tide were ineligible to play in a bowl or the conference championship game.
The Aggies had high expectations after winning nine games in 2006, but the 2007 season soured when Franchione acknowledged reports that his personal assistant was sending inside information to boosters who paid $1,200 a year to get the emails.
While athletic director Bill Byrne essentially cleared Franchione of any wrongdoing, the coach told reporters he was resigning after a 38-30 victory over the Longhorns that gave the Aggies a 7-5 record. He took a buyout.
After three years in broadcasting, Franchione returned to Texas State in 2011 with the Bobcats preparing for the jump from the FCS to FBS. He had first coached at Texas State in 1990-91 after five years at Division II Pittsburg State.
Texas State went 6-6 in two of the first three seasons after Franchione’s return before going 7-5 last year. The Bobcats fell back to 3-9 this season.
“We all knew this would be a challenging task,” Texas State president Denise Trauth said. “His knowledge of the game and his respect on the national level showed other universities and conference commissioners we were committed to our football program.”
Franchione has a 213-135-2 career record, including 39-43 at Texas State. He led his teams to nine conference championships, nine bowl games, four NAIA playoff games and one NCAA Division II playoff.
One of Franchione’s assistants, Gary Patterson, replaced him at TCU and kept the Horned Frogs on a run of success that landed them a spot in the Big 12 in 2012.