Brown: an all-purposes coach who won’t be easily replaced

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AUSTIN – After 16 years as head coach at the University of Texas, Mack Brown has left very big shoes to fill.  He brought a national championship to Texas for the first time since 1970.  Overall, he has accomplished more for the university that I attend than any other head coach in Texas history.

But over the last several years his glamour has faded.  Texas has taken a back seat to nearby schools like Baylor and Texas A&M, losing ground in recruiting and, most importantly, wins.

The longer Brown stayed on at Texas, the farther the Longhorns fell behind.  The board of regents, along with the school’s president, Bill Powers, was forced into a tough decision.  Make no mistake; Brown did not want to leave the job he had.

New athletic director Steve Patterson is looking for a candidate with extensive college football experience and a record of overwhelming success.

Fitting into this category would be Jimbo Fisher of currently No. 1 Florida State, David Shaw of Pac-12 champion Stanford and Les Miles of LSU, who has won a national championship and competes almost evenly with Alabama’s Nick Saban, for whom Texas was willing to give up a large chunk of the Eagle Ford Shale.

One name being nominated is Jim Harbaugh, who coached academically rich Stanford into the top tier of college football and then went pro and took San Francisco to the Super Bowl.  But it’s highly improbable Harbaugh would decide to go back to college, at least before he actually WINS a Super Bowl.

As for Shaw, Harbaugh’s successor at Stanford, I can’t see him leaving Palo Alto, with its comfortable climate, literally and otherwise, for the hot, sweaty political infighting of Austin.

Here on the Forty Acres he would have to satisfy an alumni force – which I look forward to joining before long – that feels it’s entitled, because it has more money than any other athletic department, to hire the best coach in the land and be a national title contender every year.

While Brown may not be a first-rate sideline tactician, he did everything else a UT coach must do, from schmoozing the politicians and the donors to directing Longhorn Network to placating the media and running a slick enough program to keep the university off probation.

Never was a major embarrassment with Mack, from the day he got here to the day he so smoothly stepped down.

Those who advocate for Harbaugh should note that he frequently commits media snafus and has drawn national scorn for rushing a star linebacker, Aldon Smith, out of alcohol treatment and onto the field.

And those who plump for Fisher should ask:  Does our overly proud institution really want a head coach named Jimbo?

And as likable as Les Miles is, do we want a head coach with the nickname of “The Mad Hatter”?

All I’m saying is, replacing Mack Brown is not going to be easy.

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