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Mack Brown resigns at Texas after 16 seasons

Mack Brown After 16 seasons at the helm, Mack Brown is officially out as the Longhorns head coach. (Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

After being the subject of speculation for much of the last three months, Mack Brown has officially resigned as Texas head coach, the school announced on Saturday. Brown will coach the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon on Dec. 30.

The news was first reported by the Longhorn Network.

In a statement, Brown said that despite his successes in Austin, the program needed a change.

"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 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. Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change. I love The University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here. I can't thank DeLoss Dodds enough for bringing our family here, and Bill Powers and the administration for supporting us at a place where I have made lifelong friendships. It is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America. 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."

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson and president Bill Powers met with Brown on Friday afternoon, but Brown spoke at the team banquet on Friday without mentioning his job situation. Brown went 158-47 over 16 seasons with the Longhorns, including winning the BCS national championship following the 2005 campaign.

Patterson thanked Brown for his success with the Longhorns and said the coach has always wanted what was best for Texas.

"We appreciate everything Mack has done for The University of Texas. 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've had a number of talks with him recently, and he has always said he wanted what was best for The University of Texas. I know this decision weighed heavily on him, and today he told us he's ready to move forward."

Brown came under heavy criticism the past few seasons, as the Longhorns finished 5-7 in 2010, 8-5 in '11 and 9-4 in '12. Texas lost early-season games to BYU (40-21 on Sept. 7) and Ole Miss (44-23 on Sept. 14) this year before ultimately finishing 8-4. In the Alamo Bowl press conference on Thursday, Brown skirted questions about his future, though he did take a few seconds to address the rumors. He staunchly reaffirmed his job status had not changed.

Brown's meeting with Powers and Patterson was initially scheduled for Thursday, but it was pushed back to Friday afternoon. Several names (including Alabama coach Nick Saban, Baylor coach Art Briles and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh) have been tossed out as potential replacements for Brown, though nothing definitive has surfaced to date. But Alabama announced that it had reached an extension with Saban on Friday.

Powers said Brown's decision to step down is a challenging one for the Texas program.

"This is a very difficult day for everyone in The University of Texas family. 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. With that said, 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. He is an unbelievable resource for us and will always be a valuable member of the Longhorn community."

In 2013, Brown's coaching job was mostly admirable. The Longhorns dealt with a variety of injuries, including concussions to starting quarterback David Ash and crippling blows to the running game and defense. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired (and Greg Robinson appointed) following the loss the BYU, and the 'Horns responded; they won six of their next seven games.

The job in Austin is one of the most coveted positions in college football, and attention will turn to the program's high-profile coaching search. Patterson is new to the school's AD gig, and this hire will shape his Texas legacy right off the bat.

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