The job clearly took a toll on Brown (check the before and after pictures over his 16-year tenure, specifically the ones from the BYU game earlier this season when he seemed to age a decade or more in a matter of hours).
Now that we know Texas is looking for a head coach, a school that has more infrastructure than most countries and the budget and profitability of Third World nations with those ugly cash crops in Central America, should Oklahoma State be worried that the Longhorns are going to upset their football stability by poaching Cowboys head coach and native son Mike Gundy?
Here are a few reasons to be concerned and more not to be alarmed over the Longhorns looking for a new leader.
Texas has facilities. Those facilities are not really any better than Oklahoma State's but they can afford to line all their facilities in gold. Earlier this week Texas booster and former Minnesota Vikings owner Red McCombs said "That's right, all the money that's not at the Vatican is at UT."
Cowboys radio play-by-play voice Dave Hunziker likes to joke, "On Fridays at Texas they go down to the basement and burn money because they can." If Texas wants to top Alabama head coach Nick Saban's new contract extension terms of $7-7.5 million per year they can do it without blinking. Texas has the money to pay the man they want.
It has been called the number one job in football coaching, and those that say it are including the NFL. If you win at Texas, then you are truly on top of the football world.
Mack Brown knows coaching and he knows the job Gundy has done. He has expressed to Gundy on a personal basis how impressed he is with that job. Now, Brown isn't likely to have a huge role in naming his successor, but if consulted he likely will mention Gundy.
Other reasons would include climate and the quality of living in a top medium size American city like Austin, Texas. There are other reasons, but most tied into what I've written above.
This season reinvigorated Gundy in why he enjoys coaching Oklahoma State and why he thrives in this program. He has the passion for it and he has the passion for the kind of players and people this program, his program, attracts. The path from beginning to end, and especially after the loss at West Virginia, was very rewarding.
His family loves it in Stillwater. He and, his wife, Kristen, have built their dream home and every stone of it and every stitch on the inside is them. Gundy has land and he likes that his sons have friends and a very solid lifestyle to grow up in Stillwater.
It's a community that allows his family to be a family and his boys to be comfortable. Sure, the Gundys are famous and celebrities but in Stillwater they are still just folks. Both Mike and Kristen have their parents and extended family nearby.
Gundy and his staff put together a really good recruiting class a year ago (this year's freshmen, many of which were able to be redshirted). The class that is about to sign looks mighty good on paper too, and that signals a very bright future with players they have started developing and are eager to continue coachinh.
You need look no further than those before and after pictures of Mack Brown to see what that Texas job can do to a person. Oklahoma State has changed and Cowboys fans are more demanding than ever (check the post-Bedlam reaction for that). But OSU fans have not reached the "mean" that can be present in Austin after a loss that the Longhorns fans find unacceptable.
The reporters that put Gundy are the forefront in the Texas job search are not confidants of Gundy. I didn't even recognize the name of the USA Today reporter. If it had been George Schroeder I would have been more concerned. What I am hoping to see is for Sports Illustrated's Thayer Evans to write a story that Gundy will become the next coach at Texas, because I know that would all but assure that Gundy will be staying at OSU.
Some of the prominent names on the list come from the NFL and out west. Remember, Texas hired Steve Patterson away from Arizona State to be the new athletic director. They had to hire Patterson knowing he would likely have this duty of hiring the next head football coach at UT.
He has a decided Texas and West Coast background having graduated from Texas and been most active in the NBA with the Houston Rockets and president of the Portland Trail Blazers, and then most recently as athletic director at Arizona State. The Jim Harbaugh and especially the David Shaw suggestions make sense.