Texas Longhorns football under Mack Brown

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William Mack Brown (born August 27, 1951) is head coach of the University of Texas Longhorn football team. Through 2008 the Texas Longhorns football team under Mack Brown have had a winning season for all eleven seasons since Brown took over the program for the 1998 season. As of 2008, they have won at least ten games in each of the past eight seasons; that is the longest active streak in the nation.[1]

Brown's Longhorns won the 2005 National Championship and seven of their ten bowl games. In 2006 he was awarded the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award for "Coach of the Year".[2]

Prior to coaching at Texas, Brown coached at Appalachian State, Tulane, and North Carolina. Brown is credited with revitalizing the Texas and North Carolina football programs.


Brown's move to Texas

While Brown informed his North Carolina team and the media that he had no plans to leave North Carolina for the recently-vacated job at the University of Texas, he was soon identified (over the objections of Longhorn Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds) by the Texas search committee as one of only two men they were interested in hiring. At the time, the Tar Heels had just completed their most successful season in years. The 1997 Tar Heels notched a 10–1 record—only the third 10-win regular season in school history. They were slated to appear in the Gator Bowl for the second year in a row—only their second (or third) New Year's Day bowl game since the Justice era. They were also all but assured of their highest final ranking in the AP Poll in half a century.

On December 2, 1997, Brown was contacted while at the ACC's football banquet in Atlanta. He agreed to meet with the hiring committee, which included Dodds, Texas coaching legend Darrell Royal, several former Texas players, and several important boosters, most notably Tom Hicks (owner of the Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers), who donated time, energy and the use of his private jet corps to the coaching search that also included an exploratory meeting with Northwestern's Gary Barnett in Chicago.

Brown met the committee on December 3 in the Four Seasons hotel in Atlanta.

The committee was impressed with Brown and Dodds offered him the job on the spot. The offer included a sizable pay raise to about $750,000 a year (which could climb to as high as $1 million with incentives), and a similar amount to recruit assistant coaches.

Brown tentatively accepted, but wanted to speak with North Carolina athletics director Dick Baddour and the North Carolina football team before making an official decision. The following day Brown met with Baddour, who had been told by the Chancellor to offer Brown a ten-year contract, as Brown relates in his autobiography:

[Baddour] came over to our house... The university offered me [a salary equal to the basketball head coach's], but Baddour made it clear that it would create a real hardship on the department if I took it. He also said, "If you want football to be equal to basketball, you should go to Texas." ... [Baddour] told us the chancellor had said to offer a ten-year contract.... He did add that he didn't feel the Board of Trustees would approve the long-term deal.[3]

Brown called Deloss Dodds to officially accept the head coaching position at the University of Texas on December 4, 1997 at 2:30 PM, then informed Dick Baddour of his decision fifteen minutes later. At 3:00 PM, Brown held a meeting with the Tar Heel players to inform them of his decision.[4]

That Thursday night, Brown flew to Austin. He was introduced to an enthusiastic Longhorn crowd on Friday.

As a consequence of taking the Texas post, Brown was not on the sidelines during the Tar Heel's 42–3 rout of Virginia Tech in the 1998 Gator Bowl, having been replaced as head coach by defensive coordinator Carl Torbush. North Carolina credits the 1997 regular season to Brown and the Gator Bowl to Torbush.

Early seasons

In his early years at UT, Mack Brown was sometimes referred to as "Coach February", a nickname that indicated he performed well during the important recruiting season, but failed to follow up with equally impressive wins on the field.[5] His detractors felt that with all the resources at his disposal at Texas, combined with the talent he was recruiting from high school programs, that he should have more to show for it than appearances in the Holiday Bowl or Cotton Bowl Classic. They felt that he should be playing for Big 12 titles or even National Championships instead.

In five of the first eight seasons under Brown, the Longhorns were all but eliminated from either of these two goals due to losses in October to Big 12 rival Oklahoma. Since the two teams played in the same division of the Big 12, a loss by Texas to Oklahoma means that Texas could win the south half of the conference unless Oklahoma lost at least two conference games. Brown did however lead the University of Texas to its second Big 12 Conference Championship game only to lose to a higher ranked Nebraska team which they had beaten earlier in the year. He also took the Longhorns to the 2001 Big 12 title game. In that year's campaign, the Longhorns lost to the Sooners but were given another chance when the Sooners lost to both Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Texas made it to the Big 12 Conference Championship Game, losing to Colorado, a school they had beaten by a substantial margin earlier in the year. Many felt that Texas would have played in the BCS Championship game had they beaten Colorado. A similar opportunity presented itself in 2002. After Oklahoma beat Texas, they lost to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. However, Texas had suffered a loss to Texas Tech so they did not make the championship game.

In 2003, Texas finished the regular season with a 10-2 regular season record and most observers felt they had the resume to reach their first BCS bowl under Brown. However, when South Champion (and #1 ranked) Oklahoma lost to North Champion Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game, Kansas State received the Big 12 conference's automatic BCS bid as conference champion and joined Oklahoma in the BCS. The BCS rules specified that no more than 2 teams from a single conference could go. Texas was frozen out.

Although Brown consistently led the Longhorns to a bowl game to cap off each season, his first six years he was not able to lead them to a Bowl Championship Series game, having to settle each year for the Holiday Bowl or Cotton Bowl Classic. His record in these games was 3 and 3, with two of the 3 losses coming at the hands of supposedly inferior teams as judged by the rankings headed into the games.

2004 season

In 2004, the Longhorns began the season with a #7 ranking nationally and started out with a 65-0 blowout of North Texas, setting several UT school records in the process. This was followed by a narrow 22-20 win against unranked Arkansas. They defeated Rice and Baylor 35-13 and 44-14 respectively.

This left them ranked fifth coming into the annual matchup with then #2 Oklahoma in the Red River Shootout. Oklahoma shut-out the Longhorns 12-0. Texas dropped to #9, before rebounding with wins over #24 Missouri 28-20, at #24 Texas Tech 51-21, and at Colorado 31-7.

Then Texas set a record for the largest come from-behind-win in school history, beating #19 Oklahoma State 56-35 after falling behind 7-35. After this performance, Texas again fell behind against Kansas but squeaked out a win 27-23. Kansas head coach Mark Mangino stirred up controversy by claiming that the officials were biased in favor of Texas.

The series of victories brought Texas back up to #5 in the rankings as they welcomed arch-rival Texas A&M to Austin and won 26-13. However, Oklahoma stood undefeated, which meant the Sooners would represent the Big 12 South in the Championship game against a much lower ranked team from the North Division. Once again, the loss to Oklahoma had kept Texas out of playing for a National or Conference Title, and had seemingly destined them to non-Bowl Championship Series bowl as well.

However, Brown began lobbying the voters in the two polls based on human voters (one on college football coaches, the other on Associated Press writers) to place the Longhorns high enough in the rankings to ensure they received a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl-bid. The arcane rules of the BCS were such that Texas might get left out of the 8 chosen teams even though they ranked 5th nationally. Lobbying by Brown and his brother, et al., gave the Longhorns the sufficient swing votes they needed to make it into the Rose Bowl, one of the four BCS bowls. This lobbying effort and ensuing result led to criticism of Brown for playing politics to get his team into a top bowl. The appearance in the "Grand-daddy" of all bowl games was the first visit by the Longhorns, due mainly to the fact that the Rose Bowl traditionally pitted the winner of the Pac-10 against the winner of the Big Ten. Texas' opponent was Michigan, whom Texas was playing for the very first time. Texas won the game 38-37 on a last second field goal kick by Longhorn Dusty Mangum in what had been called one of the greatest Rose Bowl games of all time.[6][7][8][9][10]

Ironically, Brown followed up a strong 2004 season on the field with a less successful 2005 recruiting season. Brown, who long had been criticized for recruiting top talent but not achieving the highest possible results, began to receive criticism for missing out on top recruits, especially for missing out on quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who ended up not following through on his verbal commitment to sign with Texas.

Despite the success of the 2004 season, Coach Brown's resume was still lacking a conference championship, let alone a national championship. The 2005 season offered an opportunity to add those credentials.

2005 season

Save for redshirt Junior Quarterback Vince Young, many of Texas' key players from the previous season, including running back Cedric Benson, linebacker Derrick Johnson and tight end Bo Scaife, did not return for the 2005 season. However, Texas was given a pre-season #2 ranking (behind defending National Champions University of Southern California) by Sports Illustrated magazine, and was also ranked second in the AP and USA Today coaches pre-season polls.

The UT Tower lit in a special configuration in honor of the 2005 National Championship football team

Texas scored a decisive 45-12 victory over Oklahoma. That marked the 6th time the Longhorns have entered the contest ranked 2nd nationally, and they have won all six times. With the win, Texas started the season 5-0 for the first time since 1983. That was the last time UT had national title hopes, ending the regular season 11-0 before losing to Georgia in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

After the win over previously undefeated Texas Tech, Texas moved into first place in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings for the first time since the BCS creation. The BCS formula, which takes into account strength of schedule, allowed Texas to advance in the rankings since they defeated a previously unbeaten team, while University of Southern California beat Washington, a 1-6 team.

Texas' place at the top of the BCS rankings lasted only one week. On October 29, Texas beat an Oklahoma State University Cowboys team that had struggled so far that season. Despite OSU's 0-5 start to conference play, Texas found themselves behind early in the game and for the third straight year, Texas found themselves trailing a lower-ranked Oklahoma State team at half-time. For the third straight year, Texas came from behind to win by a sizable margin. Vince Young set a school record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback with 267, and accounted for 506 total yards of offense to lead the team to victory. Over the past 3 meetings between the two schools, the Longhorns outscored the Cowboys by a combined second-half score of 118 to 0.

Texas retained the top spot in the computer rankings, but not by enough to stay ahead of USC overall.[11] After both teams won all their remaining games, USC and Texas were ranked 1 and 2, respectively; Texas then defeated USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl, winning the National Championship.

On January 11, 2006, Brown was named the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Football Coach of the Year.[2] Not since Darrell Royal's victory in 1963 has a coach from The University of Texas at Austin been given this honor. Voted by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, this award not only affirms the talent, skills and vision of Coach Mack Brown but strengthens the athletic and academic record achieved during his UT tenure. Eighteen players on the 2006 Rose Bowl roster entered the game with the coursework for their college degree complete.

2006 season

Mack Brown's tenure included stadium modernization and expansion, including the 2006 installation of the Godzillatron scoreboard which for a time was the largest in the world.[12][13] It is still the largest high-definition video screen in collegiate sports.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]

As the defending national champions, Texas began the season ranked #2 in the polls, but having to replace the NFL-departed quarterback Vince Young with freshman Colt McCoy. After winning their opener, the Longhorns in game two lost convincingly to #1 ranked Ohio State in Austin. The Horns rebounded to win seven straight (including a second straight win over nemesis Oklahoma) to climb into the Big 12 South driver's seat and entertain thoughts of a rematch with Ohio State in the national championship. However, in the season's 10th game, McCoy was injured and Texas was shocked on the road by Kansas State. After the loss, the Horns returned home still needing just one win to clinch the Big 12 South. However, even though McCoy returned Texas was again shocked, losing 12-7 to intrastate rival Texas A&M. The loss snapped UT's 6 game winning streak over the Aggies. Settling for the Alamo Bowl, Texas defeated a 6–6 Iowa team in a close game.

2007 season

The 2007 Holiday Bowl included a controversial play where Mack Brown's stepson and other Texas personnel were on the field.

As Mack Brown entered his 10th season as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns he had a won/loss record of 93 22 and he had the best winning percentage (.809) of any coach in Longhorn history. The 2007 Texas Longhorn football team began play on September 1, 2007. Texas entered the 2007 season ranked third in the all-time list of both total wins and winning percentage. They are ranked in the Top 10 by numerous pre-season polls. For instance, a pre-season ranking by ESPN writer Mark Schlabach has the Longhorns ranked eighth;[22] Rivals.com has them at ninth.[23] College Football News[24] and Real Football 365[25] both have the Longhorns ranked third. The Longhorns come into the season ranked fourth in both the Coaches Poll[26] and AP Poll.[27]

Prior to the season, two Longhorns were arrested for driving while intoxicated and will serve three-game suspensions; two other players were arrested on armed robbery charges and were removed from the team.[28][29][30][31] Brown said “I am extremely disappointed that four of our student-athletes have had issues with the law this summer. That is not reflective of the high standard of class, character and integrity we have established at Texas for many years. It’s a shame that these recent events have generated a great deal of negative attention, because I do think that overall, this is as good of a group of kids that I’ve ever coached. I think that will show over time.”[30]

For the second straight year, UT merchandise were the top-selling products among clients of Collegiate Licensing Company.[32] UT is using part of the money to give Mack Brown a raise. The University of Texas Board of Regents voted unanimously to raise Brown's salary by $300,000. This brings his annual compensation to $2.81 million and keeps him among the five highest paid coaches in the sport. The package also includes up to $3 million dollars in bonuses, including "$100,000 if he wins the Big 12 Championship and $450,000 if he wins this year's national championship, as well as bonuses based on the percent of players who graduate."[33] Brown's contract is good through the 2016 season and includes buy-out clauses should another school attempt to hire Brown.[33]

Texas won their first four games although three of them were closer than analysts had expected.[34][35][36][37][38] Following that, Texas was upset by the Kansas State Wildcats 41–21. Kansas State had no turnovers and scored 21 points on defense and special teams.[39] They scored one touchdown on a punt return, one on a kick return, and one on an interception. Previously, Texas had never allowed all three types of scores in a single season.[40] The 41 points were the most scored against Texas in Austin since UCLA handed the Longhorns a 66–3 loss in 1997,[41] and it was the worst home defeat in the Mack Brown era at Texas.[42] Texas lost again the following week in the 2007 Red River Shootout, 28–21.[43] With that loss, Texas opened conference play 0–2 for the first time since 1956, when they were in the Southwest Conference and one year before Darrell Royal became head coach of the Longhorns.[43] In their ninth regular season game, Texas outscored Nebraska 28-25, marking Brown's 100th win at Texas. In their next two games, the Longhorns would defeat Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but in their final matchup against archrival Texas A&M, the Longhorns lost 30–38. This marked the Longhorns' second straight loss to the Aggies. Despite the loss, Texas went to the Holiday Bowl to defeat 11th-ranked Arizona State 52–34. The Longhorns finished the season 10–3, marking their seventh consecutive 10-win season. This streak became the third highest in FBS history, trailing Florida State's 14 from 1987–00 and Miami's 8 from 1985–92.[44]

2008 season

The 2008 Texas Longhorn football team entered the season ranked 10th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. They won their first four games to rise to number 5 in the national rankings. Texas began Big 12 Conference play on October 4, 2008 with a trip to Boulder, Colorado and a win over the Colorado Buffaloes. On October 11, 2008 they defeated the number-one ranked Oklahoma Sooners in the 103rd Red River Shootout. It was the third UT win in four seasons, and the first time in Brown's tenure for either team to upset the other in the Red River Shootout.[45]

Following the victory over OU, the Longhorns vaulted up the standings to first place in the AP, ESPN/USA Today, and Harris Polls. In their next game they secured a win over #11 Missouri in Austin, setting a new school, state, and conference attendance record in the process. It was the first time since 1977 for the Longhorns to play a home football game as the #1 team in the AP.[46] They were ranked #1 in the first BCS standings of 2008. Texas defending the first place ranking by beating another top-ten team, the Oklahoma State Cowboys. They lost to Texas Tech in the final second of the game and fell to #4 in the BCS rankings.

The Longhorns entered 2008 as the third most victorious program in college football history, in terms of both total wins and win percentage.[47] Only Notre Dame and the University of Michigan had won more games and a greater percentage of games played than Texas,[48] On November 8, 2008, Texas' 45–21 victory over Baylor was the 829th win for the UT football program, which tied Notre Dame for 2nd in the list of total wins.[49] Notre Dame lost later the same day, leaving the two teams tied. Texas pulled ahead of Notre Dame at the end of the regular season, to take sole possession of #2 on the list.[50]

Texas won a road game against Kansas 35–7; ensuring their eighth consecutive season with ten or more wins per season. That is the longest active streak in the nation and it ties them with Miami (1985–92) for the second-longest streak of all-time.[1]

Texas finished the 2008 regular season with a win over Texas A&M, the Longhorns longest running-rivalry oppoenent. The biggest margin of victory in the history of the series occurred when Texas beat A&M 48–0 in 1898.[51] Texas nearly equaled that record this year by producing a 49–9 victory, the second-largest margin of victory for this rivalry series. It was also the 200th career win for Mack Brown,[51] and it set a new attendance record for UT, the State of Texas, the Big 12 Conference, and the southwest region. This left Texas in a three-way tie (with Oklahoma and Texas Tech) for the Big 12 South championship, which created a controversy over BCS rankings and conference tie-breaking procedures.

Texas defeated Ohio State 24-21 in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl to finish the season 12-1.

Godzillatron announces Mack Brown's 200th career win before the largest crowd for a Texas or Big 12 football game.

Brown's Legacy to Date

Texas Longhorns' Head Coach Mack Brown's year-by-year records (with bowl appearances) are as follows:

YearTeamOverall RecordConference RecordConference StandingBowl AppearanceBowl W/LBowl OpponentBowl ScoreFinal Coaches PollFinal AP PollTitle(s) Won
1998Texas9-36-22ndCotton BowlWMississippi State38-111615
1999Texas9-56-21stCotton BowlLArkansas6-272321Division
2000Texas9-37-12ndHoliday BowlLOregon30-351212
2001Texas11-27-11stHoliday BowlWWashington47-4355Division
2002Texas11-26-2T 1stCotton BowlWLSU35-2076Division
2003Texas10-37-12ndHoliday BowlLWashington State20-281112
2004Texas11-17-12ndRose BowlWMichigan38-3745
2005Texas13-08-01stRose BowlWUSC41-3811Division, Conference, National
2006Texas10-36-22ndAlamo BowlWIowa26-241313
2007Texas10-35-32ndHoliday BowlWArizona State52-341010
2008Texas12-17-1T 1stFiesta BowlWOhio State24-2134Division
2009Texas13-18-01stBCS National Championship GameLAlabama21-3722Division, Conference
2011Texas8-54-56thHoliday BowlWCalifornia21-102424
2012Texas9-45-43rdAlamo BowlWOregon State31-27

The Longhorns are 134-34 under Head Coach Mack Brown overall, and are 82-22 in Big 12 Conference play. These standings reflect the Longhorns' membership of the Big 12 South Division from 1998-2010, and of the Big 12 Conference from 2011-present. The Longhorns are 9-4 in bowl games under Brown and have been bowl-eligible for 13 of 14 seasons during his tenure, including 12 straight years from 1998-2009. Additionally, Brown's Horns have won the Big 12 South division title six times, the Big 12 Conference title twice (2005, 2009), and the National Championship once (2005). Mack Brown has led the Longhorns to three BCS bowl wins in four appearances.

After Brown

On November 18, 2008, The University of Texas announced that Longhorn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp would eventually succeed Mack Brown as head football coach. They agreed in principle to increase Muschamp’s salary to $900,000. There was no timetable set for Brown’s departure, and both Brown and UT said they expected Brown to stay a long time.[52] Following the Longhorns' 5-7 season in 2010, Muschamp accepted the head coaching position at the University of Florida [53] and it is currently unknown if the school is willing to designate a new "head coach in waiting."

Notable statistics and accomplishments

Annual salary

Brown's annual salary since his arrival at Texas in 1998 is as follows. Brown will make an additional $100,000 each year, not including incentives.[58]

1999$1 million
2000$1.2 million
2001$1.45 million
2002$1.7 million
2003$2.059 million
2004$2.159 million
2005$2.159 million
2006$2.559 million
2007$2.9 million
2008$3 million

Salary controversy

In 2009, Brown's salary was increased to $5.1 million (excluding bonuses and incentives) a raise of about $2 million. This has led to much controversy on the UT campus as it came at a time when academic programs have been facing significant cutbacks. On December 14, 2009 the UT faculty council held a special meeting to consider the following resolution[59]

"We appreciate the contributions of the athletic staff and, especially, the student-athletes, to the community of the University of Texas at Austin. However, at a time when students are facing a deteriorating academic environment in the form of declining class offerings and increasing class sizes, and lecturers, teaching assistants, and staff are facing job terminations, we believe a permanent raise of $2 million (a sum greater than the entire career earnings of a typical university employee) offered to any member of the university community is unseemly and inappropriate."

However, Brown's salary is not paid from state tax dollars, unlike nearly all university employees. When asked about the raise, university officials noted that Brown's salary is "paid entirely with money raised by the athletic department revenues. . . No state tax money is used."[60]

Outside of football

Mack Brown is married to his wife, Sally. They have 4 children: Matt Jessee, Katherine Brown, Barbara Wilson, and Chris Jessee.

In Austin, the Browns continue to be active in community affairs, serving as honorary co-chairpersons of the Capital Campaign for the Helping Hands of Austin. The Brown's have been instrumental in the opening of The Rise School of Austin (an early childhood education program that integrates children who have disabilities with their typically developing peers) and serve on the schools Board of Directors. They lent their name along with legendary UT QB James Street to the First Annual James Street/Mack Brown Golf Tournament benefiting The Rise School.

The Browns' have endorsed [a] new Texas license plate, which is designed to raise public awareness for child abuse and neglect and the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers. After the Aggie Bonfire tragedy at Texas A&M in 1999, the couple initiated a blood drive on the UT campus that attracted more than 250 blood donors."[61]

In October 2006, Mack Brown made a cameo appearance in the television pilot for Friday Night Lights. Early in the show, a resident is heard to say "Who does he think he is? He ain't no Mack Brown." Later in the pilot, the real Mack Brown plays the role of a local football booster quizzing high-school coach Eric Taylor on his pre-game preparation.[62][63][64]


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