For the first time in 16 years, Texas is looking for a head football coach.
Mack Brown met with men’s athletic director Steve Patterson and school President Bill Powers on Friday before informing them Saturday of his intentions to step down. He told his team, his staff and prospective recruits later that same day before meeting with reporters Sunday afternoon.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Brown said. “I went back and forth all week because I sincerely want what’s best for the University of Texas. There’s too many distractions. There’s too much negativity out there … It’s definitely better in my mind that Steve and Bill get them a new coach.”
Brown will serve as a special assistant to Powers, a role both said has not yet been defined. If he so chooses, Brown would be free to pursue other work opportunities, like as a college football analyst. When asked if he would want to coach elsewhere, he said it was “bad timing.”
“This is a transition from one of the great football coaches in America of all time,” Powers said. “He’s had a tremendous 16-year career and, even more than that, we talk about graduation rates and a family atmosphere and the way he represents the university … it has been unbelievable.”
After just a few weeks on the job, Patterson is faced with the tough decision on whom to hire to replace Brown. Patterson said he would make a list of criteria before thinking of anyone in particular to take over, although he did indicate he would rather have a coach with extensive college experience than one from the NFL.
“Mack is going to be a tough act to follow,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to understand what a big-time college football program is about. You’re going to be under a lot of scrutiny. You’ve got to win. You’ve got to graduate student-athletes. You’ve got to recruit the right kind of folks.”
Brown restored the program to its former glory, winning at least 10 games for nine consecutive seasons from 2001-09 — a span that included two Big 12 titles, two national title game appearances and a national championship in 2005, the Longhorns’ first in more than three decades.
But that streak of success was snapped when Texas went 5-7 in 2010, its first and only losing season under Brown. The Longhorns, 8-4, who would have clinched an outright Big 12 title with a victory over Baylor last weekend, have not reached the double-digit win plateau since. But they can send Brown off with a win in his final UT game by beating Oregon in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30.
“I’m a big boy. I understand if you don’t win all the games here, people are unhappy,” Brown said. “We used to win 12 and 13, and we won eight. It’s not about integrity. It’s not about class. It’s not about grades. It’s not about any of that stuff. You’ve got to win.”
Brown, 62, has gone 158-47 in 16 years at Texas, posting a 244-121-1 record during his 31-year head coaching career, which included brief stints at Appalachian State and Tulane before a 10-year stop at North Carolina. He will retire as the second-winningest coach in Texas history and the 10th-winningest FBS coach of all time.
“I would want to be remembered for bringing some joy to Texas and getting us back on track,” Brown said. “The second thing is that I did it with integrity and with class. The third thing is the wonderful young people that have gone through this university under our tutelage and gone on to live good lives and are better citizens for it. Those are the three things I’d want to be remembered for.”