Contra Mozilla

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Coach Mack Brown and His Replacement

It's been a few days since Mack Brown resigned as head coach. He was apparently offered the opportunity to remain as head coach, so I guess that vindicates my predictions from an earlier set of posts: namely, that he would only be brought back if he went at least 9-4 with a win over OU or 10-3 without one (this was the day before and the Monday after the Red River Rivalry game), and that even at 9-4 with the win over OU he might not return. And of course, DeLoss Dodds did step down, though it's not Mack Brown who has replaced him.

Before going into the "who will be the new coach" speculation, it's worth reading this letter of support written by one of his former players:
But I’m writing this to tell you that what happened on the field that night is not what made an impact on an 18-year-old Chris Hall. It wasn’t the last-second touchdown Vince Young scored or the celebration in the stadium afterward. What has stayed with me these eight years were the words Coach Brown spoke to us in the the locker room: “Don’t let this be the greatest thing that ever happened to you.”

Coach Brown could have told us many things. Of course he congratulated us. Of course he was proud of us. He told us we were champions and that nobody could ever take that away from us. All those things were true. But he emphasized what was important. He knew the men in that locker room wouldn’t always be football players. So he told us to not let this be the best thing that ever happened to us, but to go on to be great fathers, great husbands, and great citizens.
We do need more coaches who are class acts of this sort. No, Texas has not been free of its student-athlete-related problems. Yes, a few of the football players have even run afoul of the law at times: there is, unfortunately, some of that at most major university football programs. Even Oregon State has had some off-field issues, and that's with Mr Class Act himself as head coach. The players from the team who have come through the classes I've taught have been reasonably good student-citizens (though many would not exactly count as good scholars), certainly better than the basketball players I've had (both men and women: I haven't yet had one who's come through and been a genuine pleasure to have in class, or really even a very good citizen).

As to who will replace him: I would hope for somebody who cares about being a leader for the team both on and off the field, but I don't know much about the latter for most coaches. I've seen a variety of lists (it seems that with Saban out of the way, there are something like 30 possible replacements, some more serious than others, not counting some of the names on this amusing UT Coaching Bracket). Most of the names I mentioned in my earlier post are still viable or sem-viable candidates. I mentioned Chip Kelly as one good one to hold out for--this before he was on any lists--and lo and behold we find him as a potential replacement (though now an unlikely one, since he's actually doing pretty well in the NFL). I also like Jim Harbaugh if they can get him, though I suspect he would be relatively short-term (as Saban would have been).

There is one name which is conspicuously absent from every single list I've seen so far: David Cutcliffe. I'd call his achievement at Duke to be at least comparable to James Franklin's at Vanderbilt, even if it took him a few more years to get there. Then again, Art Briles didn't exactly become a big coaching commodity by building up Baylor overnight. Whoever the new coach is, he might consider hiring Gene Chizik as (co?) defensive coordinator, or alternatively waiting another year for Will Muschamp to get canned from Florida before bringing him back. Greg Robinson has done ok, but he's not been quite as good either time around as either of those guys were.

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