Texas coach Mack Brown was resigning, and then he wasn't.
What had been speculated about for months on end, that Brown would not be back to coach the Longhorns in 2014, appeared to have come to fruition when Orangebloods.com reported Tuesday that Brown would be stepping down. The report came shortly after 247Sports claimed a decision on Brown's future would come within a matter of days.
Then the denials flowed in by the bucketful. Reporters from CBS, Yahoo!, ESPN and more tweeted that no decision had been made, or that no one had been told of any decision regarding Brown.
#Texas source tells CBS "Mack (Brown) hasn't had any meeting & has not told anyone he's stepping down."— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 10, 2013
Y! Source says Mack Brown hasn't told anyone he's stepping down and there has been no meeting with staff or administrators.— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) December 10, 2013
THIS JUST IN: Texas denies report that Mack Brown will step down as Longhorns coach. Board of Regents to meet Thursday. (via @schadjoe)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 10, 2013
As is usually the case, the reactions on both ends of the spectrum were swift and frantic. It's not just that a head coaching job is potentially open, it's that the job is Texas.
The domino effect of such a vacancy would be significant. It could also make for a long and stressful month between now and bowl season for the Longhorns.
As of now, though, Brown is still the head coach—or, at least that's what Texas would have us believe. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds wasn't stepping down from his post when Orangebloods reported it in mid-September—up until the moment he announced his resignation in early October.
It's not hard to believe Brown could be following the same path. For all anyone knows, Brown's reported "resignation" may not be his decision.
But it's getting close to the point where the end is probably near for Brown. After a disappointing 8-4 season when the losses came by an average of 21 points, it's beyond clear the turnaround project in Austin is never going to be finished.
Brown tried hiring new assistants; he tried a different offensive philosophy. None of it has worked as well as he would have hoped. Texas hasn't been able to win the Big 12 title over the past four seasons. It hasn't even been able to get back to 10 wins.
Brown has become an embattled coach because of it. That's unfortunate for him. He is second all time at Texas in total wins (158), behind only legendary coach Darrell Royal (167). He has one national championship with Texas and has coached for another. He's beaten the fundraising drum year after year and is responsible for bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars to the program. Forbes recently listed Texas as the most valuable team in college football.
Will Mack Brown be the head coach of Texas in 2014?
That's all thanks to Brown, but it's in that vein that Brown should know that major college football is not a charity. Texas has to do what's best for its future. With so much speculation and conjecture surrounding the program, it's hard to see that future involving Brown.
At the same time, Brown deserves better than to be asked about his job status every week, even after a win. The past few months, let alone the past couple of years, couldn't have been all that enjoyable for him. Yes, it's what Brown ultimately signed up for, but that has to wear thin on anyone.
Parting ways—whether it's in a day, a week or a year—is going to be the best decision for both sides. After 16 years in the same place, habits become old and things don't always work like they used to.
That doesn't mean Brown isn't smart, or that he's forgotten how to coach. It's nothing more than an inevitable end that all of us face at one point or another.
Brown's is likely coming soon.