Nick Saban

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

It was quite the anti-climatic ending to an eventful week for Texas fans.

After a Tuesday report expecting Mack Brown to retire as head coach of the Longhorns gained national interest, many thought the veteran coach would retire Friday night at the annual Longhorn football banquet. Instead, Brown gave a short but inspired speech celebrating his 2013 team, ending on a simple note, stating his only goal is to beat Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Brown mentioned nothing of his future with the Longhorns.

President William Powers Jr. and new men's head athletic director Steve Patterson reportedly met with Brown on Friday morning to discuss the future of Texas football, but Patterson declined to divulge in what was reviewed.

In addition, all suspicion that Alabama head coach Nick Saban would leave Tuscaloosa for Austin was ended Friday night. Saban reportedly made an agreement with Alabama for a long-term contract extension.

Saban, who has won three national titles in the last four years, is expected to receive a sizeable raise and could reach an annual salary of more than $7 million, according to a Tuscaloosa news report. 

"It's been a wonderful ride."

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

After 16 seasons as the Longhorns’ head coach, Mack Brown’s tenure is officially over.

Brown announced his decision to step down Saturday, one week after Texas’ 30-10 loss to Baylor in the regular season finale with a Big 12 championship on the line. He will coach his last game in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30 against Oregon.

“Sally and I were brought to Texas 16 years ago to pull together a football program that was divided," Brown said in a statement. "With a lot of passion, hard work and determination from the kids, coaches and staff, we did that. We built a strong football family, reached great heights and accomplished a lot, and for that, I thank everyone. It's been a wonderful ride."

President William Powers Jr. said the announcement of Brown’s resignation — who he saw as a friend — is not easy. 

“This is a very difficult day for everyone in The University of Texas family,” Powers said. “Mack Brown is one of the best football coaches in the country, a tremendous representative of our University, and, most importantly, a great friend. He has produced championship teams with tremendous student-athletes and has always done so with the utmost class and integrity. Mack is just the best and he will be missed."

Brown’s decision to step down comes after Texas finished the 2013 regular season with an 8-4 record, the fourth straight season in which the Longhorns suffered at least four losses. Speculation about Brown's future ran rampant earlier this year after Texas dropped a pair of non-conference games to start the season 1-2.

Rumors began to swirl about possible replacements for Brown, with Alabama head coach Nick Saban being the most talked about. In January, one current and one former UT System regent placed a call to Saban's agent Jimmy Sexton to gauge Saban's interest in coming to Texas.

Questions about Brown’s job security quieted once Texas began conference play, as the Longhorns reeled off six straight wins against conference opponents. This proved to be short-lived though, as losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor in two of the next three games put Brown back on the hot seat.

Despite this, Brown maintained his intention to finish his current contract, which ends in 2020, throughout the year.

“I want to finish at Texas,” Brown said before the season. “If I’m healthy and we win, I’m going to try to make 2020. I think it would be fun to do that, get back on another roll.”

After the Longhorns’ second game of the season against BYU, he relieved defensive coordinator Manny Diaz of his duties and replaced him with Greg Robinson, the first time he’s ever replaced a coach mid-season. Robinson became Texas’ third defensive play-caller in the last four seasons.

These struggles aren’t new to Brown and his team.  He has failed to produce a football team up to Texas' standards, which in part he built, the past four years. Since 2010, he has led teams to a 5-7, 8-5 and a 9-4 record. His 2012 team manufactured, statistically, the worst defense in school history.

Despite these recent problems, there is no question of Brown’s importance to the Texas program. Brown led the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship, the school’s first title since 1970. He also helped Texas to the 2009 national title game, which the Longhorns lost to Alabama. Under the 62-year-old head coach, Texas won a pair of Big 12 championships.

"We appreciate everything Mack has done for The University of Texas," said Steve Patterson, the newly hired men's head athletic director. "He's been a tremendous coach, mentor, leader and ambassador for our University and our student-athletes. He is truly a college football legend … I know this decision weighed heavily on him, and today he told us he's ready to move forward."

Patterson was hired in early November, one month after DeLoss Dodds, who was UT's men's head athletic director for the past 32 years and who hired Brown, announced his plans to retire.

Powers, who received a vote of confidence from the board of regents earlier in the week himself, said he looks forward to working with Brown in a new, unspecified capacity.  

"I'm excited for the future and the opportunity to work with him in a new capacity for the years to come and am thrilled that he and Sally will remain part of our family," Powers said. "He is an unbelievable resource for us and will always be a valuable member of the Longhorn community."

Since Brown started his tenure in Austin, the Longhorns have finished in the top 15 in 10 of the last 13 years. He is one of only two coaches nationally to lead his team to 20 bowls in the last 21 seasons and 22 winning seasons in the last 23 years.

Brown finishes his 16-year tenure at Texas with a career record of 158-47, the second-most wins in school history behind Darrell K Royal. The Tennessee native has 40 years of coaching experience, 29 of which were as a head coach.

"[Texas] is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America," Brown said. "I sincerely want it to get back to the top and that's why I am stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again.”

Correction: The call to Alabama head coach Nick Saban's agent was placed in January and reported in September.

University of Texas President Bill Powers shot down any rumors of Alabama head coach Nick Saban becoming the Longhorns’ new football Thursday, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Powers also said no decision had been made about current head coach Mack Brown’s future with the team.

"I've never met Nick Saban,” Powers told the Statesman. “I've never talked to Nick Saban. We have not hired Nick Saban. Mack’s our coach, and I can say flatly that the rumors we have hired or come to an agreement with Nick Saban or even talked to him are false."

Saban has been the head coach at Alabama since 2007, winning three national championships in the last four years. Despite his success, rumors have circulated throughout the season that Saban would consider leaving Tuscaloosa to coach the Longhorns.

Brown continues to maintain interest in continuing his career at Texas until his contract runs out in 2020. He has coached the Longhorns since 1998, winning the national championship in 2005 and reaching the title game in 2009. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

With Mack Brown on the hot seat at Texas, talk of potential replacements is constantly swirling around the 40 Acres. Of course, the most desirable candidate would be Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who has won back-to-back national titles.

While plucking Saban from Tuscaloosa may seem virtually impossible, a new report from the Associated Press suggests it may not be so far-fetched.

Through an open records request, the AP obtained an email that detailed a call between Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, and UT Regent Wallace Hall and former Regent Tom Hicks. According to the email, Sexton stated that Texas is the only school that his client would leave Alabama for.

Sexton went on to say that Saban is under “special pressure” at the helm of the Crimson Tide as a result of the incredible success he has had in Tuscaloosa.


Arkansas AD gets raise

He may not have gotten the job in Austin, but Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has parlayed the interest from Texas into a raise from his current employer.

Long has agreed to a new contract with the Razorbacks that will increase his annual salary to $1.1 million by next summer. The contract also includes a $100,000 bonus and raises his buyout to $1.3 million through June 30, 2015.

Long, who was recently named the chairman of the College Football Playoff committee, was considered one of the finalists for the Texas men’s athletic director position, prior to Steve Patterson being selected on Tuesday.


UNC quarterback out for rest of season

North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner had surgery Wednesday to repair a detached labrum and fracture in his non-throwing shoulder, and will be out for the rest of the season as a result.

Renner, a fifth-year senior, injured his shoulder on a scramble in the second half of last week’s game against NC State. With no eligibility left after this season, the injury means the end of his collegiate career.

The Virginia native has been the Tar Heels starter for each of the past three years, putting together one of the most impressive careers in the school’s history. Renner’s 64 career touchdown passes are the second-most in program history while he sits third in school history in passing yards, completions and attempts.


Cal running back injured in locker-room brawl

Cal running back Fabiano Hale was taken to hospital after a locker room altercation with a teammate last week, according to University of California police.

University police officials said the walk-on was injured in a “one-on-one” fight with another player at the team’s facility. Police did not identify the other player involved in the altercation but do have a suspect.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

UT System Regent Wallace Hall said President William Powers Jr. “would not be here at the end of the year” in a private conference with a sports agent earlier this year, according to former Regent Tom Hicks.

Hall and fellow regent Steven Hicks, who is Tom Hicks’ brother, came under fire in September for discussing the possibility of replacing head football coach Mack Brown with University of Alabama coach Nick Saban without the president’s knowledge.  

According to an email obtained by The Texas Tribune, Hall and Tom and Steven Hicks discussed replacing Brown with Saban on a conference call with Jimmy Sexton, Saban’s agent, on Jan. 5. In the email, Tom Hicks said the regents told Sexton “Mack had leadership’s support to stay,” but that Tom Hicks would speak to Brown about retirement.

According to the email, Hall reassured Sexton that Powers’ influence might not be relevant for much longer.

“[Hall] told Sexton that UT leadership was most likely going to change during the year, and maybe the timing would be better a year or two later,” Tom Hicks wrote. “Specifically, he made the statement the Bill Powers wouldn’t be here at the end of the year.”

Though Tom Hicks alleged that multiple regents, including former chairman Gene Powell, were aware of the January discussions with Saban’s agent, Powers was not aware of the situation until September. 

Hall, who is currently under investigation for allegedly abusing his power as a regent, has had a tense relationship with Powers for several years. Hall has been accused of conducting a “witch hunt” against Powers, largely as a result of the broad open records requests he filed this year, totalling more than 800,000 pages of information. Over the course of the investigation, witnesses have alleged that he made major impositions on the office of Kevin Hegarty, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Open records coordinator Carol Longoria said she and her colleagues would regularly work until 10:30 or 11 p.m. to fill Hall’s requests.

If he is impeached, Hall would be the first ever non-elected official to be removed from office in Texas.

The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations will hear additional testimonies at its next hearing on Nov. 13. 

Photo Credit: Alex Dolan | Daily Texan Staff

A lot has changed for UT athletics since Halloween a year ago. The already disappointing two-loss football team was readying itself for a run at the Big 12 Championship to save head coach Mack Brown from almost certain dismissal as an apprehensive fan base cheered them on. 

On the other side of the spectrum, the men’s basketball team was about a week away from what was shaping up to be another disappointing season, likely the last for coach Rick Barnes.

OK, maybe not so much has changed for the Longhorns in the past year. The football team is still showing signs of life one week and disappearing and disappointing the next, Mack Brown’s job is still in jeopardy and Rick Barnes’ basketball team offers no optimism to the fan base.

But while the story line remains the same, there are several new characters in the scene. As Halloween rolls around again, here are a few costume suggestions for Texas’ biggest stars.

Mack Brown: Nick Saban

Even as Brown has led Texas to four straight wins, including the first over Oklahoma in four years, rumors continue to swirl that he will be canned at the end of the season. Longhorn fans’ most desired replacement: current Alabama coach — and owner of three of the past four crystal footballs — Nick Saban. 

Brown should just get ahead of the curve now and dress up as Saban for Halloween. Donning his classic straw hat and ’Bama pullover, you never know — maybe coach Brown will get lucky. Maybe nobody will notice if he stays disguised as Saban deep into next season.

Case McCoy: Indiana Jones

McCoy, like Indy, isn’t the likeliest hero. Cast aside as an afterthought before the season, nobody saw his rise to the starting job coming. Washed-up archaeology professor Indiana Jones’ ascension to world-conquering explorer extraordinaire was equally unlikely. Like Jones, McCoy’s performance isn’t always pretty, but so far he’s found a way to get the job done.

McCoy still has a ways to go to emulate Jones’ deity-like status among fans. Leading his team to a Big 12 Championship is the perfect way to start.

Tyrone Swoopes: Jesus

Swoopes is the wonder boy, the savior of Texas football, so it’s only right for him to dress up as Jesus. Fans are convinced he will be the one to take the Longhorns to the promised land.

But not everyone is a believer. There is a large segment of the college football world that doesn’t think Swoopes is ready for the NCAA limelight and several believe he never will be. When Brown burned Swoopes’ redshirt late in the TCU game, it opened up even more questions: Is Swoopes ready for the big time now? Is he going to be the new starter? Did Brown just waste a year of Swoopes’ eligibility? 

While no one knows these answers yet, one thing is for certain: With Mack Brown’s recent decision, a whole new level of intrigue has formed around Swoopes. All that’s left for him to do to better fit his costume is learn to walk on water.

Rick Barnes: "Walking Dead" Zombie

As Texas basketball enters yet another season with a fan base devoid of any strains of hope, Rick Barnes’ seat isn’t just hot; it’s already a pile of ashes.

Since Kevin Durant came to campus in 2006, the Longhorns have only advanced past the second round of the NCAA tournament once. Last year, Texas not only missed the NCAA tournament, but did not even get invited to the National Invitation Tournament. Instead, the team settled for a first-round exit in the College Basketball Invitational.

Amazingly, Barnes wasn’t fired after last season, so his current costume suits him seamlessly. Everyone knows that barring some incredible turnaround, Barnes will be gone by the season’s end. For now he’s just the walking dead, going through the motions until he’s put out of his misery.

Mike Davis: Miley Cyrus

The Davis-Cyrus connection is perfectly fitting for both parties. Everybody agrees that they are both amazing talents, and they garner a ton of attention. The problem is it’s usually for the wrong reasons.

Cyrus and Davis are known for not realizing when to shut their mouths when they need to, and it often comes back to bite them. Cyrus’ controversial Video Music Awards performance, where she scandalously twerked and grinded all over the stage, earned her the outrage of several of her peers, while Davis’ recent illegal, dangerous block against an Iowa State defender gathered him the ire of fans and analysts all over the country. Even worse is Davis’ unwillingness to apologize for his actions, going as far as to say he would do the same thing in a future situation.

Davis and Cyrus may be controversial, but they do know how to get attention and they always seem to have the spotlight on them, so this costume fits perfectly.

David Ash: Jennifer Aniston

Our next cross-dressing costume is graciously presented to former starting quarterback David Ash, although I’m not sure how happy he would be to receive it. Ash came into the year with high hopes and big dreams, but that all came crashing down when he suffered a concussion against BYU.

Just as Ash has been pushed aside for the new hero, McCoy, Aniston was once rudely shoved aside by ex-husband Brad Pitt in favor of Angelina Jolie. But things might turn out OK for Ash after all. Aniston has rebounded nicely and is currently engaged to actor Justin Theroux — she is even rumored to be pregnant. So keep your chin up, Ash — things can only get better from here.

Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron: Cerberus

Texas’ dream trio of running backs will dress as Cerberus, the three-headed beast of Greek mythology. Without this monster pounding the ball down the throats of opposing teams, the football team would be a complete disaster.

Led by Gray’s 656 rushing yards on the season, these three are responsible for the Longhorns’ ground-and-pound style that has sparked the winning streak. These studs sharing one three-headed costume are not a group you would want to pick a fight with on Halloween night.

The only thing that could tear Patrick Suddes away from his beloved Crimson Tide was a splash of burnt orange. 

The former associate director of football operations at Alabama was hired as director of player personnel at Texas, Mack Brown announced Thursday.  

Suddes will juggle Texas Football camps, the High School Coaches Clinic and recruiting efforts in his newly created position with the Longhorns.

He wasn’t necessarily on the hunt for a new job, but after Texas posted the job opening Feb. 22, Suddes said he decided to go for it. 

“When I was growing up, the University of Texas was always one of the programs that I thought about as a great place to be,” he said in a press release Thursday. “This is the only job I would have left the Alabama program for. I think being able to grow within a system and building something new here is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Suddes brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience. He jump-started his career as a recruiting intern at LSU and spent two seasons with the Miami Dolphins from 2005 to 2006. The past six years were spent at Alabama, his alma mater. 

“He’s a guy that is very passionate about recruiting and building a team,” Brown said in the press release. “Everyone we talked to said he’s the guy you need, and then Patrick knocked us out in his interview. I think he’s the perfect fit to build and lead our player personnel department.”

Nick Saban, whom he worked under for eight years, has been a teacher and key figure in the shaping of Suddes’ career, Suddes said.

“I worked for Coach (Nick) Saban for years and learned everything I know from him,” he said in the press release. “I can’t thank him enough for all of the great opportunities he gave me. But, when this came up, I was really interested in using what I learned and taking it somewhere else and trying to help out in whatever way I can.”

Described by those he’s worked with as ambitious, talented and tirelessly dedicated to his work, Suddes said he is thrilled to work under Brown.

“First of all, when you think of Coach Brown, you think ‘great coach,’ but what you hear all the time is great character, great leadership and I think that’s important,” Suddes said in the press release. “This is someone you can really rally behind. He’s won before, he knows what it takes, he knows the system and what it takes to get there. That’s exciting to go from one winning coach to another.”

Suddes also said he’s ready to use his skill set to impact the lives of the players he’ll recruit to Texas.

“I’m really passionate about not just helping to find and recruit the best prospects, but getting to know the kids,” Suddes said in the press release. “When they get to the NFL, they’re pretty much set in their ways, but in college, you can really make an impact in a kid’s life, especially coming to a place like this with so much pride and tradition.”

Published on March 8, 2013 as "Suddes hopes to point Texas in right direction". 

Mack Brown has coached the Longhorns for 14 years. But TexasÂ’ performance over the past two seasons does not warrant a raise.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Just a few weeks ago, rumors were that head coach Mack Brown was going to step down or even be fired from his position. After two sub-par seasons, it wouldn’t have been a complete surprise. Apparently, just the opposite is true. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Brown’s contract is expected to be extended through the 2020 season and he will continue to receive an annual raise of $100,000.

Brown makes approximately $5.2 million a season, which puts him ahead of Nick Saban, Bob Stoops and Urban Meyer. Saban, the next highest paid coach, has won two national championships in the past three seasons. Saban currently earns less than $5 million per season. With this new contract extension, Brown will eventually earn $6 million per season.

There is no doubt that Brown has had a positive impact on Texas football over the past 14 seasons, becoming the second-winningest coach in Texas football history. But with that comes Texas-sized expectations. The past two seasons Brown has led the Longhorns to a 13-12 record.

Under the heading of “what have you done for me lately,” a raise of this magnitude does not seem to be in order.

Brown has shown the courage to shake things up. At the end of the 2010 season, he fired longtime offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Will Muschamp left to become the head coach at Florida. Muschamp was expected to take over for Brown when he retired. These changes resulted in three more wins in 2011. Even with an unsettled quarterback situation, Texas re-established a running offense and ranked first in the Big 12 in total defense.

With one of the top five recruiting classes in the country coming to Texas next year, it seems that things should continue to get better. The operative word is “should.” If next season is another 8-5 season, or worse, what happens then? Four extra years is a long time with Brown turning 61 this year. That also means with the contract extension he will be coaching at Texas until he is 70.

There are not a lot of successful 70 year-old coaches in NCAA Division I football.

Why so many years? Why now? Other colleges are not throwing money at Mack to leave Texas now nor does he want to. Although there are signs of improvement, the turnaround that Texas wants is not guaranteed under Brown. A one or two-year extension would have been much a more reasonable and responsible decision by the Board of Regents.

I credit the Board of Regents for not panicking and striving toward stability. Mack has done a lot for Texas football and the school. And hopefully, the Board of Regents won’t need that $3.5 million buyout clause.

Printed on Thursday, January 26, 2012 as: Brown's extension, rasie is poor decision by Board of Regents