Mack Brown, the Texas football coach who led the Longhorns to the 2005 national title and ranks second at the school in career victories, is stepping down after 16 seasons.
In a statement released by the school Saturday night, the coach who was brought to Texas to revive a dormant program in 1997 acknowledged it was time for a change after a 30-20 record, including 18-17 in the Big 12, over the last four seasons.
Texas went 8-4 this season and lost the Big 12 title to Baylor in the final ga me of the regular season. The62-year-old Brown will fi nish his Texas ca reer in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon on Dec. 30.
“It’s been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being pulled in d i fferent d i rect ion s , a nd I think the time is right for a change,” Brown said. “I love the University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here … It is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America.
“I sincerely want to get back to the top and that’s why I’m stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rollingagain,” Brown said.
Brown led the Longhorns through a run of dominance from 20012009 when the Texas went 101-16, won two Big 12 titles and twice played for the national championship.
He has 158 victories at Texas, No. 2 behind the late Darrell Royal, who won 167 in 20 seasons with the Longhorns. Brown is 244-121-1 overall in 29 years as a head coach.
“T his is a very difficult day for everyone in the University of Texas family,” Texas President Bill Powers said. “Mack Brown is one of the best football coaches in the country.” The school scheduled a news conference Sundayfor Brown, and to discuss a search for his replacement to take over after the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.
Brown’s only losing season at Texas was in 2010, when the Longhorns fell to 5-7 after playing for the 2009 season national championship. But Brown’s inability to win more Big 12 championships – Oklahoma won or shared eight league titles from 2000-2012 – and four straight years of at least four losses fractured the fan base and prompted calls for his departure.
Texas expected a return to national prominence in 2013 behind a team that returned 19 starters. Even Brown talked up his chances to compete for a national championship again.
But Texas started 1-2 to rekindle dissatisfaction that would fester all season, particularly after revelations that in January, several members of the school’s board of regents and a prominent donor were involved in efforts to lure Alabama coach Nick Saban to the Longhorns.
The possibility that Texas could hire Saban to take over for Brown ended Friday night when Alabama announced it had agreed to a contract extension with its coach.
Brown was considered the perfect fit at Texas when the Longhorns hired him to replace the divisive John Mackovic. The affable Brown immediately won over Longhorns fans at his introductory news conference when he flashed the traditiona l “Hook’em Horns” sign and urged fans to “come early, be loud and stay late.” “Sally and I were brought to Texas 16 years ago to pull together a football program that was divided. With a lot of passion, hard work and determination from the k id s , coac he s a nd st a ff , we did that,” Brown said. “We built a strong football family, reached great heights and accomplished a lot, and for that, I thank everyone.”