There’s some relative certainty that Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown will be moving on from a program that he helped to re-vitalize, to bring back to life over the course of his 16-year tenure. Assuming this certainty becomes reality, there’s another reality new Athletic Director Steve Patterson, the Texas Board of Regents and anyone else involved in replacing him will have to confront:
The job at Texas is highly unique and requires an unprecdented, wide-ranging skill set.
The football coach at the University of Texas is not just a football coach. You always hear the cliche of “wearing many hats” and it’s easy to push that aside as cutesy and overstating the situation, but at Texas, it’s absolute truth.
Being one of the highest-paid employees in the Lone Star State brings with it requirements and expectations that stretch far beyond football. Sure, Mack Brown is a football coach first and foremost, but he’s also a fund-raiser, a glad-hander (and I mean this positively), a psychologist, a brand representative, an outreach leader, a television and radio personality.
You get the point.
Say what you will about where Mack Brown sits currently in respect to his ability to help Texas continue to reach expectations — and believe me, I’ve been as critical as anyone — but to suggest that any old coach with the ability to draw up Xs and Os will be a strong enough fit is both an affront to Brown’s unique, diverse skill set but also a vast oversimplification of what the job requires.
The list of candidates is rather large at this point in terms of who could successfully take over for Brown with guys like Nick Saban, Gus Malzahn, Mike Gundy being some possible front-runners. When you take the time to ponder the football side of the equation in coming days as speculation runs wild prior to the Texas Board of Regents meeting on Thursday that will likely consider Mack Brown’s fate — along with University President Bill Powers — take the time to consider the other elements of the job.
Will Nick Saban enjoy buddying up to the ESPN execs with whom Texas has made a bed, and enjoy becoming a television personality on the Longhorn Network?
Can Gus Malzahn build upon, and maintain the vast network of trust with high school coaches in the state of Texas which Mack Brown has developed over the past 16 years?
Will Mike Gundy be happy as a peach about speaking at $10,000 a plate fundraisers for [insert organization here]?
It’s far from a plug and play situation.
Steve Patterson has the most monumental task ahead of him in the past two decades of Texas sports (assuming it all comes to be, that is) and the decision he makes will likely shape the next two decades of Texas football.
There’s little doubt the Longhorns are falling behind in the Lone Star State and anything less than a perfect fit just won’t be good enough.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer, Business Analyst and College Content Coordinator for Rant Sports.