Texas Football: 7 Reasons Mack Brown Deserves Longhorns' Patience
After the Longhorns narrowly avoided a disastrous loss to one-win Kansas in Week 9, the days separating this scary victory and Week 10’s trip to play Texas Tech will no doubt be jam-packed with reports of fans screaming for the head of Mack Brown.
Yes, losing 63-21 to Oklahoma was bad enough, but a 56-50 defensively devoid win over Baylor followed by a 21-17 last-second comeback decision over hapless Kansas may be too much for even the staunchest Brown supporter to bear.
But amid all the demands for Mack Brown’s firing or resignation (and I’ve been one of the voices in this crowd), what about the reasons for why he should stay?
Indeed, while it’s crystal clear why Mack Brown should go, why should be allowed to stick around in Austin?
The following slideshow plays the dreaded antagonist and provides seven reasons while Longhorn enthusiasts should give Brown an opportunity to mend his ways and stay at the helm of Texas football.
The No. 1 reason to keep Mack Brown on the job at Texas is the No. 1 reason he’s been so effective at Texas—recruiting.
Brown’s ability to attract super-talented athletes to Austin has done nothing but continue to skyrocket since he took over at Texas in 1998.
To illustrate, Brown’s last four classes were among the best the nation, regardless of the fact that from a win/loss standpoint the program has slipped.
Per Rivals.com’s comprehensive team rankings, the Longhorns’ class of 2009 ranked No. 5, the group from 2010 ranked No. 3, the 2011 recruits were No. 3 and then this past year’s class was No. 2.
Simply put, if you toss out Brown, you risk losing one of the best recruiting pipes in the nation.
He’s The Best Coach Texas Has Ever Had
It’s really easy to look at 2010’s 5-7 product, 2011’s 8-5 finish and then this year’s highly dubious 6-2 start and forget who Mack Brown is and where he fits into Texas’ storied football history.
At the end of the day, Brown has a higher winning percentage than any Longhorn coach who stayed on the job five-plus years.
Yes, Brown’s 78.33 percent mark coming into 2012 trumps that of Dana Bible (66.4 percent from 1937-46), Fred Akers (73.1 percent from 1977-86) and even Darrell Royal (77.3 percent from 1957-76).
Though you could rightly argue that the situation at Texas is far from “stable,” ending the Mack Brown era at Texas, no matter how dismal things get, could very well put Longhorn football in an even more precarious position.
And this is especially true in what is a day-to-day situation from a national perspective in college football, with threats such as conference realignment, BCS revamping and NCAA restructure.
In truth, 2012-13 may present the biggest need for stable leadership in the history of the game.
And though Mack Brown might be a lot of things (right now that includes a coach that is struggling to put together wins), he’s bought in 100 percent at Texas and can be counted on to make decisions that are solely in the best interest of his employer.
Mack Brown won’t be throwing Texas under the bus, regardless of what happens in an ever-changing, loyalty-devoid world of college sports.
Though the major changes in terms of coordinators that occurred on the Texas staff for the 2011 season seem far from paying off, it may be too early to call the hirings a total flop.
Yes, Manny Diaz’s 2012 defense looks epically bad (try a No. 105 ranking in scoring coming into Week 9), and despite the fact that the Bryan Harsin/Major Applewhite's offense looks better versus last season, it’s still not worth raving about.
But are 21 games (with a 14-7 record) enough to gauge whether or not the current staff experiment is a failure, and wouldn’t it be prudent to at least wait until the season ends before swinging the gavel?
The truth is, this is still a relatively new coaching staff and though Brown is obviously still the leader, the recent decline may not be entirely his fault.
However, he’s still the guy who needs to fix it, a task that needs to be tackled in short order.
This is an argument that should both appall and conjure up pride in Texas football fans.
First, the Longhorn faithful have definitely suffered enough to pooh-pooh any notions of letting Mack Brown stick around simply because he’s 147-41 at Texas and has provided a national title, two Big 12 titles and six divisional crowns.
But the other side of the coin is that Texas is the kind of program that is classy enough (and I say this as a Texas Tech graduate) to not kick a guy out the door without mercy, especially when the guy has been such a great ambassador for your university.
Would it be honorable for Texas to keep Brown after all he’s done?
Should Longhorn fans buy into this?
It’s up to their discretion.
Will Texas ultimately handle Mack Brown with the honor he deserves?
Yes, and Texas fans should be proud of that.
When a coach has 12 consecutive winning seasons at a major program in a BCS conference, you’ve got to figure he’s got some clue about what he’s doing.
Yes, when you’ve reeled off nine back-to-back double-digit win seasons, perhaps you have some skills as a head coach.
Has Mack Brown lost it? Has he reached the exhaustion point, the burn-out plateau where he can no longer coach Texas to a championship?
Well, if he was Gene Chizik or Lane Kiffin, I guess you would think twice, but this is Mack Brown, who may just have another ace up his burnt orange sleeve.
The numbers don’t lie.
Who Will Replace Him?
Perhaps the angle that ‘Horn fans need to consider the most regarding firing or forcing Mack Brown from his job is a simple question: Who comes next in the history of Texas football?
And this question is not just about who you want to replace him, but who will actually come and take the job.
Names like Jon Gruden, Chip Kelly and even wanderlust coach Nick Saban are high on Longhorn fans’ wish lists, but will these guys really buy a house in Austin (and, most importantly, leave their current post)? And if they don’t, then who will you get stuck with?
Despite all the recent glory and the inherent desirability of the job, Texas is still the program that employed the following head football coaches between Fred Akers’ last season in 1986 and Brown’s first in 1998: David McWilliams (31-26) and John Mackovic (41-28-2).
No matter how you want to say it—buyer beware, careful what you wish for or the grass isn’t always greener on the other side—Texas fans need to proceed with caution before they break up with Brown and end up in bed with John L. Smith.