The Mack Brown era at Texas is reportedly coming to an end. According to Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com, Brown will step down this week.
Per the report:
"Mack Brown loves Texas and wants what's in the best interest of Texas and what's in the best interest of Mack Brown," one high-level source said. "I don't think it's been an easy decision. But he doesn't want negativity around the program he helped unify."
According to ESPN's Joe Schad, however, the school has denied the report, saying that the Board of Regents will meet on Thursday. Brown's attorney told the AP that the coach "has not resigned." Brown also denied the report to 247 Sports, saying:
"I'm in Florida recruiting. If I had decided to step down I sure wouldn't be killing myself down here. I have not decided to step down."
All of this comes on the heels of an earlier report which indicated that Brown's future would be decided in the next 48 hours. In his 16 years with the Longhorns, Brown has a 158-47 record. He won the national championship following the 2005 season.
Brown's recent record, though, has been underwhelming. Texas has gone just 30-20 the past four seasons, and missed a bowl game altogether in 2010. There has been rampant speculation about the identity of the next coach ever since the Longhorns' 44-23 loss to Ole Miss on Sept. 14 dropped them to 1-2. On Nov. 5, Texas hired former Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson to replace longtime AD DeLoss Dodds.
With a huge athletic budget and revenue from the Longhorn Network, Texas is sure to aim high when, and if, Brown steps down (of course, Alabama coach Nick Saban has been mentioned as a candidate ad nauseam). But it will be critical that whoever the school hires be able to sustain consistent success from the get-go. Recruiting is never difficult for the Longhorns; it's what a coach does with the all those prospects that ultimately matters. There is still plenty of blue-chip talent on the Texas roster, and there will be a lot of pressure on the school to nail the hiring of its first new coach in 16 years.