Time is Right for Brown to Quit
Sixteen years is long for a marriage, it’s really old for a car and it’s almost unheard of for a college football coach. Mack Brown has been the head man at Texas since the 1998 season. Just think about that; that goes all the way back to Clinton in the White House, MC Hammer and the Cowboys were only a couple years past their last Super Bowl. THAT’s a long-ass time ago!
The word is that Brown has heard all of the critics who said he needs to move on and decided to do just that. Sources say he will announce his retirement by Friday of this week. The football team banquet is Friday night and people close to the situation say Brown will either have made the announcement at the banquet or before it.
I think it’s a good move from Brown who’s accomplished a lot more than most people thought he would when he arrived in Austin from North Carolina. Brown hadn’t established himself as an elite coach at Carolina, he was 69-46-1 in 10 season in Chapel Hill, before that 11-23 at Tulane. He had never won even a conference championship before going to Texas but he won 10 games in 3 of his final 5 seasons with the Tar Heels and obviously caught the Longhorns’ eye.
Known as a great recruiter, Brown’s teams at Texas were annually ranked in the top 10 of recruiting classes in the country. But that was also part of his curse. With all that talent, fans expected national titles to come in bunches. That never happened but he did bring the national championship to Austin following the 2005 season. Brown can live the rest of his life–certainly if he remains in Austin–knowing that he coached one of the most talented teams in college football, during the past 25 years. That undefeated Longhorn team, led by quarterback Vince Young, played in one of the great championship games, beating USC in the final seconds of the Rose Bowl to win the title.
In his 16 seasons with the Horns, Brown led them to either a first or second place finish in the conference 13 times. His overall record at Austin is 158-47…that’s just under 10 wins a season on average. There is no doubt that Brown will go down as one of the best coaches in Longhorn history, but his time has come. At 62, Brown has outlasted many other Big 12 coaches but eventually all coaches have to hang up the whistle. I’ve always resented the coach who can’t read the writing on the wall and forces his athletic director to push him out and look like the bad guy.
Brown hasn’t won 10 games in the past 4 seasons, that’s a long dry-spell in major college coaching. Texas knows it can attract, and pay, almost any coach it wants…so the time is right to find the next Nick Saban. The Horns want to be in the national picture, every year not just once or twice a decade. They’ll get that kind of coach.
Even before the scandal, Joe Paterno stayed at Penn State WAY too long. It’s selfish of the old coaches who won’t leave. At some point they got a break and a chance to become a head coach at a relatively young age but they won’t do the same thing for others. Let a young guy get an opportunity to be the next Mack Brown.
Life on the golf course and in a private suite (like Darryl Royal) is a great way to wind down after a long, successful career. Or he could keep coaching somewhere but not everyone is looking for a 60-plus coach to rebuild a program.
Whatever he decides, Brown can walk around campus, Austin and all of Texas with his head held high. He’ll pass the tourch to the next guy and hand over the keys to a strong program ready to take them where Mack did…and then some.