Brown Talks Decision

Mack Brown talks about his decision to step down, his 16-year tenure as Texas head coach and why the Longhorn athletic department is in good hands moving forward.

Saturday night, Mack Brown announced his resignation as the head football coach of the University of Texas. Sunday, he took the time to discuss his decision, and what he would do moving forward.

"We have had 16 great years here," Brown said. "Sally said yesterday, four presidential terms. So that is a long time and we have had a blast. When we came we were asked to pull together a divided fan base that is a difficult fan base at times and we were able to do that."

Brown used an analogy of a box of BBs, one forwarded by legendary Longhorn coach Darrell Royal, to describe the task of uniting the Texas fan base.

"Coach Royal told us, when asked what do you have to do to be the head football coach at Texas, and he said, there is such a diverse group that follows this football team that you have to pull them all together and that is very difficult to do," Brown said. "He said when you get them all together, it's wonderful and it's a powerful place. But when it is not, it is very divided and it is a very difficult place to manage.

"So he said it's like a box of BBs and the BBs are dropped all over the room and what you got to do is get all the BBs back in the box," Brown said. "And we were able to do that. We were able to do that for a long time until 2010 and then as of late the BBs have gotten back out of the box."

According to Brown, that divided fan base was a primary reason in his stepping down.

"As the season ended with (Athletic Director) Steve Patterson coming in and as I promised you, we sat down on Friday afternoon and he and I and Bill Powers had a great meeting," Brown said. "We had a good conversation and they expressed their support and wanted me to stay. I told them that I would like to talk to Sally and sleep on it. We went through the banquet and got up the next day and all of us met again and mutually decided that it was best for us to move on.

"There was still a divided fan base and that is not fair for Texas, that is not fair for our players, that is not fair for our coaches because they continue to be under undue pressure," Brown said. "So it was time for me to move on and let someone else come in and restart the program."

"This is a top-five program annually, it may be the best job in the country," Brown continued. "You should be in the mix every year and it is time for Texas to get back in the mix like we were from '04 to '09. That was a wonderful run, it was a lot of fun and we haven't lived up to those expectations since 2010. There are great young players on this team and the future is very bright. We are leaving it better than we found it and it has been a fun ride."

Brown had a number of people to thank, from current and former players to administrators, boosters and media. And he had a soft spot for the fans as well.

"I do want to thank our fans," Brown said. "Our fans have been unbelievable. They have treated us with so much dignity and so much class and not one time since I have been at Texas, when we have been outside, has anyone ever insinuated anything rude to us. It has just been unbelievable and I thank you, fans."

As for the next phase in Brown's life, he said there were some unknowns there.

"Now after the Oregon game, Sally and I will transition to the next phase of our lives," Brown said. "I have never done anything but coaching so that is something I will have to look at. By contract we will be working as special assistant to the President and we will also have some free time for opportunities outside The University.

"So it will be fun to explore those things and see what is out there for us and move forward," Brown said. "In talking to (Joe) Jamail a few minutes ago, he said some people have called about coaching and I said bad timing. I need to back off for a day or two."

Brown said he went back and forth all week on the decision, and said that it was hard to step away because coaching was "all I've ever done."

Brown called the process "a little bit of a whirlwind," and said it was difficult telling the recruits, players and staff about his decision. Because everything happened so quickly, he said he hasn't had time to think about his legacy.

"I think if you ask me what I wanted to be remembered for would be pretty simple," Brown said. "I would want to be remembered for bringing some joy to Texas, getting us back on track so the standard is set so much higher than it was before I was here so that should help us. I have to live up to that standard now. I would think the second thing is that I did it with integrity and class. And I think the third thing is the wonderful young people that have gone through this university under our tutelage that they have good lives and are better citizens for it. Those are the three things I would want to be remembered for, I think.

"I want to make sure that everybody knows that I've been treated fairly and it's a wonderful run here and that I love the University of Texas," he added later. "I have no regrets at all."

Later, Brown expanded on his 'no regrets' frame of mind.

"I have absolutely no anger, no regrets for anything that's happened," Brown said. "I'm angry with us, too. I told the staff and the coaches, 'You've got to win more than eight games at Texas.' We're the ones that screwed it up — we won nine the first year and got a parade. That's what's changed over 16 years and that's okay. The standard is set really high here and I'm darn proud we were part of that standard."

But while he had no regrets, he did say there were two things that he would have changed over the last 16 years.

"I would want (late Texas DT) Cole Pittman back and I would want the bonfire to not have happened at A&M," Brown said. "Those are two horrible things in my life that I will never forget and like I said, playing A&M on Thanksgiving, I thought about the families because I want to keep my children. When you lose your children there is nothing worse than that in the world and I think about that every Thanksgiving because there are 12 families that don't have a good Thanksgiving. That'll never go away.

"Cole Pittman, I'm responsible for the precious things that those parents send you, the most precious things in their lives — their children — and we lost one," Brown said. "I talked to Marc and Judy Pittman today and I have the program from the funeral in my office that I look at very often. It's just a memory to me to just make sure that when we're responsible for 125 kids, we've got to make sure they tell us when they're going home, make sure they text us when they get home, make sure they text us before they leave home, make sure they text us when they get back, because we cannot afford to lose someone's child and that's very, very important to us."

Brown admitted that he thought the team had turned the corner heading into this season and had the ability to make a run. Why didn't that happen?

"Injuries. Lose your quarterback, I think we lost eight of our top 10 players, and nobody wants to hear it but it's fact," Brown said. "How do we know it's not going to happen next year? We've had really bad injuries for the last three years. I think that's something the new coach has to look at — why has there been so many injuries for the last three years. I can't answer that. I've tried and I can't."

In Brown's closing remarks, he had compliments for new athletics director Steve Patterson.

"Bill and Steve are coming up and I think Steve's wonderful," Brown said. "I think we are so lucky to have him. I got to spend quite a bit of time with him, a little bit in New York and some Friday, and a lot yesterday and today kind of cleaning up things and getting ready to move forward. As great as DeLoss was, and he had a great run, he was ready to step out. As good as our run's been, Steve is a breath of fresh air. He's going to move forward. He was very honest and direct with me through this whole process.

One of the things I'm going to miss is not working with him," Brown said. "I think he's a star. Bill and his committee did a great job of hiring him and Bill and Steve will get us a great new football coach and we'll move forward."

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