Usually when there is smoke, there is an underlying fire. And that is exactly the case iregarding the coaching status of longtime Texas football coach Mack Brown, who on Saturday made it official: He is resigning as head coach of the Texas Longhorns, effective after the Valero Alamo Bowl, where Texas will play Oregon of the Pac-12 on Dec. 30.
The announcement follows a meeting on Friday between Brown and University of Texas President Bill Powers. It has been rumored for some time that this would be Brown’s 16th and final season as head of the football program at Texas, and the Longhorn sports website Orangebloods.com reported on Tuesday this week that the deed was done and that Brown would announce his resignation before the end of the week.
The critics were all over the story after Texas lost two of its first three games to start this season, and by embarrassingly large losing margins. But Brown managed to right the ship, winning seven of the Longhorns’ final nine games and actually playing for the conference championship in their final regular-season game.
But after four consecutive four-loss seasons, the Texas fan base and the university administration had, frankly, lost its faith in the once-popular Brown and had had enough of the mediocre performances from a team that annually brings in some of college football’s best recruiting classes.
“It’s been a wonderful ride,” Brown said in a statement released by the university. “Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change. I love the University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here. it is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America.
It is uncertain what Brown will do from here, but there is speculation that he will remain at Texas in some yet-to-be-announced capacity.
Brown has a record of 158-47 in his 16 seasons at Tecas and 244 wins in his 30 years as a head coach in college football. At Texas, he had six season of at least 11 wins, won a national championship, three Big 12 championships and have appeared in 14 postseason bowl games, 10 of them as winners. Brown’s Longhorn teams have been ranked in the top-15 nationally in 10 of the past 13 seasons.
The question now is: Where does Texas go from here and whom might it be targeting as potentially the next Longhorn head football coach? Alabama head coach Nick Saban reportedly was UT’s first choice, but Saban has signed a multi-year extension to stay in place in Tuscaloosa. Art Briles of Baylor, who was a longtime high school coach in Texas before moving into the college ranks, also was thought to have been an ideal choice as Brown’s replacement at Texas, but Briles has said he isn’t interested in leaving Baylor.
Two names that are believed to be on the short list of potential candidates are Jimbo Fisher of Florida State and James Franklin at Vanderbilt. Urban Meyer’s name has also come up in media speculation. Meyer is currently head coach at Ohio State.