The last four seasons of Mack Brown's tenure at Texas can make it easy to forget about all the good he's done in Austin.
Brown took over a divided program in 1998 and went on to become the second-winningest coach at Texas, just behind Darrell Royal. From 2001-09, the Longhorns won at least 10 games every year. Brown put dozens of players in the NFL, coaching All-Americans and national award winners.
And he did it all without the NCAA putting the program under the microscope.
Brown had some memorable moments during his 16 years at Texas. He'd like one more by beating Oregon in the Alamo Bowl.
It would bring to mind Bobby Bowden's last game as Florida State's head coach during the 2010 Gator Bowl, when the longtime head coach planted the spear in the field during pre-game festivities. The Seminoles went on to beat West Virginia 33-21.
What were some of Brown's most defining moments at Texas?
Brown's Locker Room Speech After Texas' 2006 National Championship
Brown's six-minute post-game speech after the Longhorns defeated USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl for the BCS National Championship was inspiring. But it was his final message to his team that merited reflection.
"I don't want this to be the best thing to ever happen in your life," Brown said. "You promise me...you're a great citizen, a great role model, a great father and a great leader for your family."
It was signature Brown, a coach who cared about his players and what they did with their life long after they hung up their cleats.
Texas' 20-13 Win Over Nebraska in Lincoln in 2010
Texas' only losing season under Brown came in 2010, one season after playing for another BCS National Championship, when the 'Horns went 5-7. As forgettable as that year was, Texas did one thing worth remembering: beating Nebraska in Lincoln.
This was the Cornhuskers' final season in the Big 12 before leaving for the Big Ten. It was also a chance for redemption for the heartbreaking and controversial 13-12 loss the year before in the Big 12 title game. With the 'Horns on a two-game losing streak, and with the 'Huskers ranked No. 5 in the country, it was as good a time as any to stick it to Texas.
No dice. Texas won 20-13 and Brown finished with an 8-1 record against Nebraska. The 'Huskers were nothing like the program they once were under former coach Tom Osborne. Still, Brown owned them.
Texas Sends Texas A&M to the SEC on a Sour Note
The Longhorns may not have been a Big 12 power over the past four years, but they certainly knew how to spoil a going away party. With Texas A&M heading to the SEC, and with the future of the rivalry in serious doubt, Texas twisted the knife one final time.
Longhorns kicker Justin Tucker—he of the 61-yard field goals—hit a 40-yarder as time expired to give Texas the 27-25 victory.
The Aggies went on to have instant success in the SEC, and A&M is the hotter program right now, but that one's going to sting for a while.
...But Not Before Paying Tribute to Fallen Aggies in 1999 Bonfire Collapse
This really isn't a "best" moment, nor is it one limited to just Brown. In fact, it didn't even result in a win for the Longhorns. Nevertheless, it was one of the most powerful scenes in college football over the past 20 years.
Following a bonfire collapse in 1999 that killed 12 Texas A&M students, the Longhorn Marching Band paid tribute to those whose lives were lost during a halftime performance. A&M went on to win 20-16.
Brown said during his resignation press conference on Sunday that the bonfire collapse was one of his two biggest regrets as a coach.
"This is probably the toughest week I've ever had to coach. It was such a distraction," Brown said at the time of the game (via ESPN.com). "But whenever I started to feel sorry for myself, I also thought of the parents and friends of the victims."
Texas Beats Oklahoma 45-35
Few of the Red River Shootouts between Brown and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops were actually competitive one way or the other. From 2007-10, however, no Red River game was decided by more than 10 points.
Perhaps no win for Texas in the series was bigger than defeating the No. 1 Sooners in 2008, 45-35. The game had everything: a Top-5 matchup, quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy and momentum swings. Eventually, it had a controversial outcome, too, when Oklahoma, not Texas, was selected to play in the BCS National Championship.
Texas' 36-20 win over the Sooners in 2013 was the biggest upset in the rivalry, but the 2008 edition of the game was a classic.
Nothing will top Texas' 2006 BCS National Championship over the mighty Trojans. However, if the 'Horns can somehow beat Oregon, it will likely go down as the next-best moment in Brown's lengthy career in Austin.
The storyline would be perfect. Brown the embattled head coach who finally resigned, pulls out an impressive victory as a double-digit underdog in his final game. You couldn't write it any better.
Ben Kercheval is the lead writer for Big 12 football. Follow him on Twitter @BenKercheval.
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