Friday, February 9, 2007

Death of a Classic, Shelby Metcalf pass on

For 27 years, Shelby Metcalf owned the sidelines of Texas A&M, but he was not a football coach. Who was Shelby Metcalf? Coach Metcalf was the basketball coach at a football school for 27 years, longer than any tenured coach in the history of the now forgotten Southwest Conference. Shelby was colorful in a way that modern coaches are not. Sly wit and humor have been replaced by talking points and politically correct soundbites. Shelby possessed similar qualities as other colorful coaches like Tom Landry or Darryl Royal. In tribute to Shelby and courtesy of, here are some of Coach Metcalf's more memorable anecdotes:

After a tough nignt in Lubbock when the Tceh fans were throwing coins from the stands at the Aggie basketball players, a reporter asked Shelby about it. Shelby replied, "I told my players to show some class, and not pick
up anything less than a quarter."

"Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject." (recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D)

After recruiting John Reynolds (lettered '64 & '65) by taking him fishing for two days on the Brazos:"You just can’t get real good players with catfish

Metcalf recruited Darryl McDonald, better known as "D-Mack the Playground King" in the late ’80s out Harlem. Despite Harlem’s rough reputation, Metcalf’s biggest obstacle in recruiting D-Mack was convincing him that College Station was a safe enough place. "He was scared to death of those gun racks in the back of all those pick-up trucks," Metcalf said with a laugh. "I finally convinced him that if he was OK in Harlem, he’d be just fine here."

Shelby had a few players one year who were having trouble academically. So he
enrolled them in basket weaving to get their grade points up. Shelby commented,
"Problem was, a couple of them were American-Indians, and they set such a high
curve that they flunked the others out."

After John David Crow fired him, the media asked Shelby what happened. Shelby said something along the lines of "I made a comment that I didn't think John David was all that bright. And I thought I was being generous."

"The only happy Aggie is an unhappy Aggie"

One time when asked about the fans "One day they're naming a street after ya...the next day they're chasin you down it"

The year or the year after the NCAA went from 2 refs to 3 refs doing a basketball game, someone asked Shelby how he liked it.Shelby said, " 3 blind mice are not any better than 2 blind mice!!"

A reporter was asking Shelby about the tough road schedule. Shelby replied something like ... "Yeah, we don't give the players meal money until they get on the bus, otherwise we couldn't field a team."

In 1966 the Ags went to Fayetteville to play the piggies. If we win, the SWC title is ours. Unfortunately we did not. He told a story about after the game bumping into a woman who turned around and really gave him a 'go to hell look'. Coach said, "no offense Ma'am", she replied, "no defense either".

Of the pencil thin former player Daryl McDonald, "he's living proof our
players don't use steroids" and of RC Buford, a not so quick forward and now
an NBA exec., "Instead of running the 4 corners to stall out the clock, we had RC
drive the baseline"

On current A&M coach Billy Gillispie: "(BCG) works so hard, i don't think he knows where he lives."

Metcalf recounted a wild tale that involved he and Barry Davis, who played
for the Aggies from 1975-76. The two went hunting, and by request of the owner
of the property Metcalf was to shoot the guy's old white mule, who had served
the family well but whose time had come. So Metcalf played a joke on Davis and
told him that the property owner was an angry fan — and to get revenge Metcalf
was going to shoot his mule. "But before I could tell him it was a joke," Metcalf said, smiling, "Barry had shot two of the guy's calves."

He once referred to one of his players as "a true student-athlete in every sense of the word," then added the postscript: "God, he's lonely around here.

Goodbye Shelby, we'll miss you.

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