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Shelby Metcalf Out at A&M After 27 Years

February 24, 1990

DALLAS (AP) _ Shelby Metcalf spends his days taking care of two cats and a dog and reading a shoe box full of mail.

He recently beat what he called ″flu from hell″ and has watched numerous basketball games on television ″trying to figure out how I fouled up.″

Metcalf may be down, but you couldn’t kill his sense of humor with liquid edger.

″I’m just waiting for the weather to get nice so I can get after the fish on Lake Gig ’Em,″ he said. ″I’d probably make a pretty good fishing guide except I don’t like fishing when the weather is bad.″

Metcalf, as the British would say, is keeping a stiff upper lip.

The job of his life as Texas A&M University basketball coach was over as suddenly as a game when the opponent hits a winning three-point shot at the buzzer.

On Monday, Jan. 23, the 59-year-old Metcalf was given the gate after 27 years as head basketball coach.

Just like that, the winningest coach in the history of the Southwestern Conference was gone, gone despite his six SWC championships, gone despite his 438 career victories.

The combination of the sudden firing by athletic director John David Crow and lingering influenza put Metcalf in his own personal twilight zone.

He had nowhere to go; nothing to do.

″I’d been coaching since 1955 and then it was over just like that,″ Metcalf said.″Coaching and fishing. That’s about all I knew how to do.″

Metcalf was to be reassigned within the athletic department until his contract runs out in 1991.

An idea is being kicked around to have Metcalf speak to students at junior and high schools about the evils of drugs and dropping out of school. Metcalf is considering it.

″I want to be productive,″ Metcalf said. ″I appreciate the fact A&M is giving me plenty of time to look things over.″

Metcalf said Texas A&M President Dr. William Mobley ″has been real nice.″

Metcalf hasn’t been back to G. Rollie White Coliseum to see his Aggies play but has caught some games on television and the radio.

He follows with interest the reports about who will replace him.

Asked about Idaho coach Kermit Davis, Metcalf said ″I coached against his dad at Mississippi State. He and his dad are both good people. Kermit is a very personable guy. Of course, I guess that will kill him since I said something nice about him.″

Metcalf doesn’t want to talk about his possible successor because of his fondness for John Thornton, a loyal assistant, who has been the interim coach since Metcalf was ousted. Metcalf is pulling hard for Thornton.

Metcalf has almost become an information central about the open job. Other coaches call him looking for information.

Former Arkansas and Kentucky head coach Eddie Sutton has called three times.

″Eddie didn’t call me when he left Arkansas, and now he calls me all the time,″ Metcalf quipped.

Metcalf welcomes callers.

His cats and dog are good friends, but they don’t talk basketball.

And you can tell basketball is something Metcalf really misses.

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