Mack Brown Remains Silent as He Debates Possible Retirement
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — From Texas to Tuscaloosa, the pressure is mounting on Mack Brown to say something — anything — about his future with the Longhorns.
Brown was scheduled to meet with school President Bill Powers and new Athletic Director Steve Patterson on Friday to discuss the future of the football program and whether he plans to return for a 17th season, a meeting before the annual team banquet Friday night.
Despite widespread speculation that Brown was considering retirement, Brown has said publicly only that "my situation has not changed" and that he was looked forward to meeting with his bosses. It was unclear if he would address his job situation at the banquet, a campus event that typically showcases player awards and highlights of the past season to a room packed with players, their families, recruits and media.
Brown has tried to present a business-as-usual aura, spending much of the week recruiting on trips to Florida and around Texas.
Powers and Patterson also have said little to suggest whether Brown will stay or leave or leave.
Patterson has been on the job for barely a month. Powers, who has been one of Brown's biggest supporters, has his own struggles this week and had to survive a behind-closed-doors university regents meeting on Thursday where officials debated whether he should keep his job.
On Thursday, Powers called Brown one of the sport's greatest coaches but declined to address the coach's status.
All of it has led to a messy public drama surrounding one of the pre-eminent football programs in the country with tentacles stretching to Alabama. Tide coach Nick Saban has been identified as a target to potentially replace Brown.
Saban has previously attempted to downplay and links to a potential opening at Texas. But several university regents and a former regent were involved in a meeting with Saban's agent last January to gauge the coach's interest in coming to Texas.
According to an email detailing that phone meeting and obtained last month by The Associated Press, Saban's agent Jimmy Sexton told Texas representatives that Texas was the only job Saban would leave Alabama for, and that Saban was under "special pressure" at his current job.
Brown was one of the most successful coaches in the country from 2001-2009 when he 101-16, won two Big 12 titles and the 2005 national championship, the Longhorns' first undisputed national title in 36 years. The Longhorns returned to the national championship game in the 2009 season, but lost to Saban's Alabama.
Since that loss, Texas is 30-20 overall, with Brown's only losing season in 2010. Texas expected to return to national prominence this year but started 1-2. Texas fought back to for a chance to play for the Big 12 championship, but lost 30-10 last week at Baylor.