|Thursday, December 5
Updated: December 6, 4:10 PM ET
Franchione reportedly will receive five-year deal
ESPN.com news services
Dennis Franchione has signed a deal to become the new coach at Texas A&M, ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel has learned from a member of Franchione's staff. There will be an 9:30 a.m. ET press conference at Texas A&M to introduce Franchione.
The staff member said Alabama has canceled all its recruiting activities for the weekend.
Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
The move caps a tumultuous week at the university, beginning with Slocum's firing and the hiring of athletic director Bill Byrne on Tuesday.
School officials declined to comment on reports on the Web sites of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning-News and Bryan-College Station Eagle that Franchione had been hired.
The school scheduled a news conference for Friday morning.
At Alabama, athletic director Mal Moore and some football players scheduled a news conference for 4:30 p.m. CT.
Franchione had been rumored to succeed Slocum after the team's disappointing showing this season. A&M finished the regular season 6-6 and was pummeled by rival Texas, 50-20, in its last game on Nov. 29.
Erle Nye, chairman of the Texas A&M board of regents, said earlier Thursday that the school had entered into contract discussions with Franchione, adding, "I understand they are past the big items.''
Nye said university representatives and Franchione agreed to many terms of a contract, including duration and salary.
"I would say they are in constructive discussions,'' he said.
Nye cautioned, however, that he was not involved in the discussions and was only reporting what he heard from university officials.
Franchione replaces R.C. Slocum, who was fired Monday (dec. 2) after finishing 6-6, including a home loss to Missouri and a 30-point season-ending defeat to rival Texas.
Franchione's teams were 25-11 at TCU from 1998 to 2000 and 17-8 over the past two seasons at Alabama.
Despite a 10-3 record this season, Alabama isn't eligible for a bowl game because it is on NCAA probation due to recruiting violations that took place before Franchione was hired.
Franchione and his wife, Kim, boarded a private plane Thursday morning in Tuscaloosa, Ala., reportedly bound for Texas.
The A&M board of regents has proposed a five-year contract for Franchione to take over the Aggies' football program, the Houston Chronicle reported. The offer to Franchione was believed to be worth $10 million to $11 million.
Byrne, the new athletic director, was believed to have met Wednesday with Craig Kelly, Franchione's legal representative.
Franchione met for about three hours Wednesday afternoon with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore and members of the Alabama board of trustees, then left without commenting. He canceled speaking engagements Wednesday night in Columbus, Ga., and on Thursday in Montgomery, Ala.
Moore said he granted A&M officials permission to talk to Franchione but wanted the coach to stay with the Crimson Tide.
"I will not impede coach Franchione in any manner if he wishes to talk to A&M,'' Moore said in a statement. "However, I wish to stress that we want coach Franchione to finish his coaching career at the University of Alabama.
"We have made what we feel is a strong and fair contractual offer to him.''
Franchione coached at TCU in Fort Worth before taking the Alabama job three years ago and remains under contract at Alabama through 2007 at $1.1 million per season plus incentives. He led Alabama to a 17-8 record the past two seasons, finishing 10-3 this season.
But Alabama, on NCAA probation for recruiting violations that occurred before Franchione took the job, isn't eligible for a bowl game this year or next. Franchione hasn't signed a contract extension with Alabama, which was reportedly worth $15 million over 10 years.
Slocum, who has spent all but one season since 1972 on the A&M coaching staff, has three years remaining on a seven-year contract worth $1 million annually. A&M president Robert Gates said Slocum accepted an offer to remain at the university as his special adviser.
"I talked with R.C. this morning, we still have to work out the details to nail down,'' Gates said. "I've already arranged an office for him. We're in the process of talking about the content of the position.
"I expressed to him my enthusiasm in staying on and being an adviser and helping me. We talked about a lot of things that he could do,'' he said. "He is without question at this point the most recognized, and I think it's fair to say the most beloved Aggie there is alive right now with a devotion to the school.''