Oxford's Sherman ready to move on
By Wayne Clements
John Sherman may be leaving Oxford, but Oxford won't leave him. It's too much a part of who he is.
Sherman was hired as an assistant men's basketball coach at Mississippi State earlier this week. He'll be in Starkville as early as Tuesday, but part of him will always be in Oxford.
"I feel like I became a basketball coach at Oxford," said Sherman, who started his 16-year high school career at Riverside High in Avon in 1983. "Just being a part of this community .... My little girls will always be from Oxford."
Sherman, whose hiring must be approved by the State College Board, returns to his alma mater to fulfill a professional goal.
"I don't know if my appetite was just too big at first," he said. "From day one, I wanted to be a college coach. I've loved every minute of being a high school coach. I think that's where the greatest rewards are.
"Everything's timing. It hadn't happened and I thought it wasn't going to happen."
But it did. As a matter of fact, it almost happened over the summer.
Sherman talked with Iowa State coach Tim Floyd about a vacant assistant's job there, but the two decided that wasn't the right move. A few months later, MSU head coach Richard Williams needed a replacement for Owen Miller, who was hired by Texas-San Antonio.
"After not getting an offer for 16 years, then getting two in three months, I felt maybe this was the time to go at it," Sherman said. "Richard and I had talked about it the last 10 years, but pretty strongly the last two years. It was just a matter of making sure it was what I wanted to do."
Although Sherman hasn't been asked for a recommendation on his replacement, he'd like to see Oxford High assistant Drew Tyler get the job. Tyler has been at Oxford for 4 1/2 years.
"I think it's time for him to get the opportunity," Sherman said.
Sherman compiled a 240-132 overall record at Oxford, including a 115-26 record the last four seasons. He won the state Class 4A title his second season.
"I can't say enough good things about Oxford," he said. "We've been lucky to have the support of the community and administration. I feel like I was in on the ground floor of building an athletic program that is top quality.
"Boys basketball put the first state championship on the wall of the gym. It kind of got the ball rolling. Now there are 11 banners up there."