Texas' Mack Brown wins first Gene Stallings Award

DALLAS -- Texas Longhorns coach Mack Brown has heard the rumors about his alma mater, Florida State, contemplating leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference and joining the Big 12.

Brown, who received the inaugural Gene Stallings Award for his humanitarian endeavors at the Dallas Country Club on Monday, declined to address Florida State.

He even admitted that he would like to see the Big 12 remain with 10 teams, where the league is now after TCU and West Virginia joined to replace Texas A&M and Missouri .

But Brown said that the talk of possible future expansion of the Big 12 is a good sign that the league is here to stay.

"Personally, it's been the thought of Texas that we stay at 10," Brown said. "We just got a new commissioner that we are all excited about from Stanford. He will obviously be involved with the presidents trying to look and see. I don't think it's about this team or that team. I think it's about a concept or philosophy."

But two years after thinking that the Big 12 was all but dead with talk of Texas going to the Pac 12, Brown said the league is strong and will be around for the rest of his life.

It may seem awkward that Brown won the inaugural Stallings Award considering that Stallings is on the board of regents at Texas A&M and helped spearhead the Aggies' move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference.

But the two have been friends and colleagues for years. Brown also had a relationship with Stallings' late son, Johnny, who was born with Down syndrome.

Stallings' son was the real inspiration behind the award, which was presented by Dr Pepper and benefited the Rise School of Dallas.

Stallings started the Rise School in Tuscaloosa, Ala., when he was coach of the Crimson Tide, to provide a school for children with development delays. There are now Rise Schools in Austin, Houston and Dallas.

Stallings said Brown, who volunteers at the Rise School in Austin, was a natural fit as the inaugural recipient.

"It goes to somebody who makes a difference in the community," Stallings said. "It's not about won-loss record. Mack has made a difference in a lot of different ways and lot of different programs not only in Austin but throughout the country. We wanted him to be the first recipient of this award."

Said Brown: "The award means a lot to me because I knew Johnny. I knew him well. I watched Coach Stallings. He is a big tough football coach. He was a mentor to us all. When I was around him with Johnny you saw the special bond he had with his son. It was the driving force for Sally [his wife] and I to get involved with the Rise School in Austin."

Clarence E. Hill Jr.



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