Jackie Sherrill, the Texas A&M; football coach and athletic director accused of paying hush money to a former player during a National Collegiate Athletic Assn. investigation, resigned Monday night, citing mental strain and his "love and respect" for the school.
Sherrill, 45, was 53-27-1 at Texas A&M;, including an 7-5 record this season.
Defensive coordinator R.C. Slocum, a former USC assistant, was named to replace Sherrill as coach, and John David Crow was named athletic director.
"Because of my great love for this school and its people, I am removing myself from my position at Texas A&M;," Sherrill said in a prepared statement. "I have remained in my position because I felt it has been a period that has needed my complete interest and full cooperation due to the continuing national attention that has been paid to this matter.
"Now, it is with all this in mind, and with the best interest of Texas A&M; uppermost in my thoughts, it is time for us to come to a mutual parting of the ways in order for everyone concerned to get a fresh start."
George Smith, a former player, said Sherrill paid him to not talk about the school's recruiting problems, then later recanted his statement.
The Aggies were put on probation in September for unrelated NCAA violations and banned from postseason play.
William Mobley, Texas A&M; president, opened an investigation of Smith's allegations which, if proved, could put the school in jeopardy of the NCAA's death penalty for a violation while under probation.
Mobley said: "Jackie Sherrill has consulted with me often over the past 3 weeks and has determined that he should remove himself from his position as athletic director and head football coach."
Sherrill's statement cited the "added mental strain on me for the past 18 months" that "has not allowed me to spend any time with my family, and I am looking forward to doing so during the holiday season."
Aside from the prepared statement, Sherrill said he will not discuss the Smith case.
"I will refrain from discussing this matter until it is completely resolved and all parties are vindicated, as I strongly believe they will be," Sherrill's statement said.
Mobley emphasized that Sherrill's decision "should not be interpreted as prejudging the outcome of the ongoing investigation of recent allegations."
Crow, a 1958 Texas A&M; graduate and the school's only Heisman Trophy winner, has served as associate athletic director for the past 5 years. Slocum has served as assistant head coach for the past 3 years. He has been associated with the Texas A&M; football program for 16 years during two terms of employment, returning to the Aggie program in 1982 after 2 years at USC.
Smith, the former player, told the Dallas Morning News that Sherrill paid him $4,000 in cash and money orders dating back to 1986 to remain silent about rules violations.
Smith later said he made up the stories of payoffs because he planned to write a book and the scandal would make it more interesting.