Sherrill was the head coach at Washington State University in 1976. During his one season at the Pullman campus, the Cougars won three games and lost eight.
University of Pittsburgh
Sherrill was the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh from 1977 to 1981. Before going to Washington State, Sherrill had served as an assistant at Pittsburgh under head coach Johnny Majors. When Majors left Pittsburgh to return to his alma mater at the University of Tennessee, Sherrill returned to become the head coach of the Panthers. He has famously been remembered as the recruiter of Heisman winner Tony Dorsett, bunking with the then shy and introverted high school senior and staying at his parents house in order to have him commit to Pittsburgh. He is also credited with grooming quarterback Dan Marino, who went on to a prolific Hall of Fame career in the NFL after being Sherrill's last quarterback at Pitt, from 1979-1982. In Sherrill's five seasons at Pittsburgh, the Panthers won 50 games, lost nine, and had one tie.
Sherrill was hired on January 19, 1982 as replacement for Tom Wilson, signing a record six-year contract over $1.7 million. Sherrill was the head coach at Texas A&M University from 1982 to 1988. While head coach at A&M Sherrill started the tradition of the "12th Man Kickoff Team", this tradition is still observed by A&M today only in a significantly scaled back form, including a single walk-on rather than an entire return team unit. In his seven seasons as the coach of the Aggies, Texas A&M won 52 games, lost 28, and had one tie. Texas A&M won three consecutive Southwest Conference championships under Sherrill, in 1985, 1986 and 1987. As a result, the Aggies played in the Cotton Bowl at the end of each season, defeating Auburn University 36-16 on January 1, 1986 and Notre Dame 35-10 on January 1, 1988, and losing to Ohio State University 28-12 on January 1, 1987. In 1988, Sherrill's Aggies were put under probation by the NCAA for a period of two years. Violations included improper employment, extra benefits, unethical conduct and lack of institutional control. When asked about retirement, Joe Paterno once said that he would not, because it would leave college football in the hands of "the Jackie Sherrills and the Barry Switzers". The comment was made off-the-record and in jest during a party at Paterno's house, but it was printed anyway. Sherrill and Paterno have since become friends, and Sherrill and his wife were guests of the Paternos in State College in 2004.
Mississippi State University
Sherrill was the head coach at Mississippi State University from 1991 to 2003. In thirteen seasons in Starkville, Sherrill coached the Bulldogs to a record of 75-75-2. He lead the team to an SEC West title in 1998, a 10-2 record and #12 final ranking in 1999. That #12 ranking was the highest final ranking achieved by any NCAA Division I-A school in Mississippi in over 30 years. Sherrill, along with Bill Snyder of Kansas State, were among the first to use the rich JUCO systems of Kansas and Mississippi to help their programs progress. It should be noted that outside of the last three seasons, Sherrill was a winning coach at Mississippi State despite the excellence of rivals like Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida.
Sherrill also achieved notoriety by castrating a bull during a team practice as a motivational technique prior to a game versus Texas. It worked, as unranked Mississippi State beat the #13 ranked Longhorns.
Sherrill is a controversial figure in college football because his successes have built at schools in competitive conferences with highly emotional followings. Because of his success at Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State, the fans of rivals Penn State, Texas, and Mississippi have a strong aversion to Sherrill. He finished with winning records against the Texas Longhorns and Mississippi Rebels. Sherrill retired after the 2003 season from Mississippi State, which was followed by the NCAA levying probation for four years on the program. Mississippi State was not found guilty of any major violations, and Sherrill was never personally found guilty of any NCAA rules violations at either Mississippi State or Texas A&M.
In 2007, Sherrill was courted to be the coach of the AAFL's Team Alabama, however, negotiations faltered and Mike Jones was hired for the position. He is currently a studio analyst for Fox Sports Net and contributing writer for Texags.com
- Jackie Sherrill (January 25, 2008) Wikipedia - accessed January 28, 2008