After sixteen years wearing burnt orange, Mack Brown has decided to leave his post as the head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns football program. At a press conference Sunday, Brown explained his decision to step down after the Bowl Game against Oregon in two weeks.
“There are just too many distractions too many negatives, and players and coaches shouldn’t have to deal with negativity about me or the university,” he said. “The university is so much bigger than any person.”
In recent weeks, rumors were flying about Brown’s future as head coach. Would he retire, would he be fired, and who might replace him. But Brown said while he had been considering the decision for a while, he did not make the call until Saturday.
“I was told I could stay, I felt I could stay, I really didn’t feel it was best for the university to stay. I thought they needed change,” Brown said.
During his tenure, Brown won more than 150 games, number two behind the late Darrell Royal. Under Brown, the Longhorns won the 2005 national championship, appeared in the national championship game in 2009 and had two other BCS bowl wins.
UT Austin President Bill Powers says the decision for Brown to step down was entirely his own, without any input from UT Board of Regents.
“I was not given any direction at all from any regent on this issue. In fact, I was told by regents, ‘we don’t hire the coaches."
Powers also squashed rumors that Texas was pursuing University of Alabama coach Nick Saban to replace Brown, saying reports of lunches and meetings between Saban and Texas officials were unfounded.
As Texas moves forward, Brown says he won’t be involved in the search for a new coach and UT Athletic Director Steve Patterson says there’s no specific timeline to hire a new coach.
“I think the key is setting the criteria, getting some clarity around that and moving as expeditiously as we can to hire the best coach we can, as quickly as we can," Patterson said.
Meanwhile, questions still remain about Brown's future with the university. Sunday it was announced that Brown will stay on in an advisory position with the University. But for now, he'll focus on winning the Alamo Bowl Game against the University of Oregon. President Powers says they’ll sit down to discuss Brown’s future beyond that after the bowl game.
“We’ve always known Mack won’t coach all his life and we want him to be a longhorn and he can represent the university in a whole variety of ways. That is the role he’ll play…We’ll sit down and work that out."