Strength in Numbers: How Does Mack Stack?

Mack Brown</B>, almost regardless of the criteria used to measure an outstanding coach, ranks among the best in America today.

I will acknowledge that he has yet to win a conference title. It should be noted, however, that he has already led Texas to two south division titles in just four seasons. The division number of six teams almost equals that of the old SWC, when Darrell Royal began winning his conference crowns. Royal, in his first four seasons at Texas–like Brown has had–actually shared his one title with two other teams. Aside from that one category, Mack places high in virtually every other meaningful assessment.

Currently, he is the only coach in Division I-A to possess a string of six consecutive nine-plus win seasons. In three of those years, he has rung up at least ten victories. This streak alone places him among the best active head coaches in college football. Additionally, he’s accomplished the feat at two different schools: one a basketball-first institution and the other a four-win squad in disarray at the time of his takeover.

If one considers six years as too short or selective a timeline, then go back all the way to 1990. Since that year, a time period when Texas has fired two coaches, Mack Brown is tied for sixth among active coaches in winning percentage (coaches with minimum of 70 victories). He would rank ahead of the man he shares that spot with, Bill Snyder, if one omits contests against Division I-AA foes. He likely will pass both R.C. Slocum and Joe Paterno this season as well, considering how close he is to these two long-standing coaches at their respective schools. This would place him only behind Bobby Bowden, Phil Fulmer, and Dennis Erickson going into 2003.

Switching completely the other direction, the following facts will appeal to the "what have you done for me lately" crowd. Since the turn of the century, Mack again stacks up very well against the top coaches in the country. In the two seasons concluded in this period, he led Texas to within a dropped pass (or three) of a top ten finish and then a top five ranking. In the year unfolding, he has Texas ranked No. 2 in the nation.

Here is the listing by winning percentage of the top coaches in America (2000-2002), excluding victories over I-AA opponents:

1. Bob Stoops (Oklahoma): .931

2. Mike Bellotti (Oregon): .889

3. Mack Brown (Texas): .821

3. Frank Solich (Nebraska): 821

5. Frank Beamer (Va Tech): .815

6. Bobby Bowden (FSU): .793

7. Rick Neuheisel (Washington): .778

8. Phil Fulmer (Tennessee): .750

9. Lloyd Carr (Michigan): .714

10. Nick Saban (LSU): .692

11. Bill Snyder (Kansas St): .679

12. Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin): .621

I deliberately omitted coaches from second-tier type conferences, like the MAC and others, since these programs generally do not face stout enough competition to be compared with the top ones in the nation.

For fun, I also tallied a few other coaches’ numbers:

R.C. Slocum (A&M): .615

Bob Toledo (UCLA): .577

Houston Nutt (Arkansas): .542

Gary Barnett (Colorado): .536

Joe Paterno (Penn State): .500

Jackie Sherrill (Miss. St): .440 (and to think MSU thought it had struck gold with his hiring)

For the fans who possess extremely short-term memory, here are the numbers from just this past season and thus far in 2002:

1. Bellotti (Oregon): .933

2. Brown (Texas): .875

2. Stoops (OU): .875

4. Fulmer (Tenn): .813

4. Solich (Neb): .813

6. Bowden (FSU): .750

7. Beamer (VT): .733

7. Saban (LSU): .733

9. Barnett (Colo): .706

10. Carr (Mich): .688

[Neuheisel is 12th, Slocum 14th]

While Texas fans understandably yearn for a national title (and yes, a conference one, too, of course), they have many reasons to celebrate the accomplishments and improvements that continue to pile up under the tutelage of Mack Brown.

Bert Hancock has owned two college football-related web sites and was designated "Lead Writer" of one of the first independent web sites dedicated strictly to UT sports. At the University of Texas, where he received a Bachelor of Business degree, his area of specialty was in statistics and probabilities. His "Strength In Numbers" column will appear weekly on

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