Dateline - February 6, 2002
On what the program looks for in a recruit ...
"You look at the total picture of a recruit including social life, academics and football. If any of the three break down, then they will probably not be successful. One thing that everyone knows here at The University is that it is a very difficult school academically. One of the tougher things we have found coaching here is that not only do the players have to play great football, but they have to go to class and make their grades. The recruits understand that during the recruiting process.
On what having a top-ranked recruiting class means ...
"What you have to realize in college football today is that everybody you play will have great players. I do not believe that this is a step up but a continuation of where we have been. You never know whether a Top 10 recruiting class will remain in the top throughout their college careers."
Ten years have passed since Mack Brown spoke these words. During that span the Longhorn football program has signed top 10 recruiting classes each year and spawned a few outright Big 12 championships, a couple of National Championship appearances, including winning one, a dozen+ All Americans, gobs of wins, heartbreaking losses, and a significant morphing of Mack Brown V.2.0.
Unlike in prior years, Mack has loosened his, shall I say, stubbornness to the idea of change and appears to be listening more and more to younger, more energized recruiters. Maybe stubbornness is not the right word. Maybe it is more akin to becoming smarter and wiser. It's too bad that it took losing a natty and a 5-7 record to wake him up. But the clock runs to the right and events unfold and shape a person moving forward. Coach Brown, with help from wife Sally, decided there was still fuel in the tank, took the reins and seemingly reinvented himself overnight. Not philosophically, but certainly management technique and the aforementioned listening improvement.
And these changes are paying dividends. Not necessarily equated to wins and championships, at least not yet. But change in the fundamental ways of accountability, responsibility, and viability.
Fresh off a 4-year contract extension, Mack Brown will introduce his 15th Texas Longhorn recruiting class today and his 38th as a head football coach. During that time, the class and dignity Coach Brown has brought to the program is unquestioned. Several in the fanbase will argue the program should be only about wins and championships and everything else is just stuffed fluff. That is a simplified way of looking at things. Surely a successful football program is more than that. And a successful football program, such as the one resurrected by Coach Brown, has brought significant notoriety and focus to the 40 Acres during his tenure. This cannot be refuted, and as such, should be sanctified and held in high esteem by all Longhorn fans and followers the world over.
There have been some signing day press conferences more memorable than others. But they all include a forward looking view of the program and philosophical commentary. Sort of like a State of the Union style forum where Coach Brown gets to speak from the bully pulpit. Accordingly, it only seems appropriate to cull a few excerpts from prior signing day pressers to set the table for Coach Brown's conversation with us.
13 years ago I asked coach Royal, I said, "What has been wrong with Texas football?" He said, "People were all over the place, nobody pulled together." I thought we got splintered a little bit as a fan base and a group last year, and it's time for us to pull back together and be like we were in 1998. When everybody - the fans, the alumni, our letterman, the high school coaches - when everybody pulls together for one, this is a powerful place. It's time for us to go back to work and make sure we get back to where we need to be. - January 31, 2011 (Not part of the press conference but thought it struck the right tone.)
I remember, not only Bill Little, but a lot for people told us the day we walked in (to this job) that we just want Texas to be significant again. If you'll just get us back to where people care, that's what we want. We've done that and it's important for us to win. If you would have told me at the start of the season that we were going to lose like we did, I wouldn't have believed it, but it's probably good we're all disappointed at 13-1. As my mother said, there are 118 that would like to have your problem, so grow up boy, and I think that's part of the deal. - February 4, 2010
I just wanted to ask, it's been 12 years, but do you still embrace everyone out there says you're as good of a recruiter as there is. What's that mean to you? And kind of talk about that? It's a compliment to our staff, because we're at Texas, and kids should want to come to Texas. If you're doing things right here, it's a great school academically. We've got one of the best cities and fastest growing cities in the country and we're winning.
The guys are playing before 100-plus thousand every Saturday. Most of their games are on TV and people can see them across the country, and most of them are graduating.
So I think what we've done is been able to take the losses allowed us by letting me hire the best staff in the country, allowed us to take a great place and really push it forward. So, young guys have an opportunity to come here.
What we thought early and what Coach Royal told us and Coach McWilliams told us and Coach Akers told us when we first got here is becoming so much more true now. And it's just like if there are five great running backs in the state and we have a chance to sign all five, but we can only take one, our job goes back to evaluation and then not second guessing yourself, because you could kill yourself here talking about those that go everywhere else. And making sure that he's a young guy that's going to be better four years from now, and making sure you do a good job coaching. That's what we have to do.
We're going to turn down a lot of good players, and there will be some that don't want to come. We can't worry about them. We've got to make sure we get the ones that want to be here. And my experience is if we do a good job recruiting, and I think we do, and a young man doesn't want to come, then he probably knew he didn't fit here. - February 4, 2009
When we were at North Carolina, we took the majority of the North Carolina players. And we felt like guys that grow up in your own state, watching the Texas Longhorns every day since eight years old, their dream is play at this school. We believe in parents, strong values and the family, and most kids that love their parents want to stay close to home and most parents want to see them play. And at the same time, we're not going to break any rules. And it's simpler when you're recruiting early of evaluations for kids that want to come to your school. So we feel like when we bought into the high school coaches in the state of Texas and we made a promise with them to help them if they would help us, because we want to win the National Championship by and large with kids from this state. And our out-of-state players have been great players for us by-and-large, not good players, but great players. We feel like when you've got 20 million people here in the state of Texas and 1300 high schools that play football, year in and year out there are plenty of great football players here. And we really think that a kid that grew up here and his parents, high school coach, girlfriend and two buddies are in the stands, most of the time he's going to play a lot harder and wants to see those people when he walks off the field. - February 6, 2008
We ended up bringing 28 guys to campus for official visits. All 28 committed, three changed their mind and 25 stuck with us. One of those 25 guys, Matt Nader, had the medical incident with his heart and had the mechanism put in his heart for security in the future and will not be able to play. We thought at the time that he would count in our scholarship numbers, but since that time we have learned that he will not. So we wanted Matt to sign today, we wanted Matt to be part of our program today. He will come to Texas and he will help us coach as a student coach over the next four or five years and be on scholarship like the other teammates that he would have played with. We are still really excited about him and want to make sure that he understands that he can still be a big help to our program and our just glad that he is alive. - February 6, 2007
People ask if a class meets its expectations or not. How do we ever know what to expect of a class? At a place like Texas, we expect to win all the games every year, and our classes have been close. We do feel like this one has the potential to keep us in the upper echelon in college football. The other thing, and we all know it is very difficult to do, is to get the chemistry right and get the selfishness all out of the way. Last year was the most unselfish team we've had since we've been here without question. As we're recruiting now we're trying to do a better job of recruiting an unselfish player in every possible situation that we can. That has to be part of the evaluation. We're talking more about being unselfish and being a team guy than ever before. - February 1, 2006
Today marks the official start to the 2012 football season. Coach will announce the booster luncheon circuit schedule (Major will be in Houston tomorrow at the Renaissance Hotel in Greenway Plaza) in which the staff will take to the streets, promoting the new class and what to expect this season. Soon, attention will turn to the start of Spring camp and us trying to glean progress from the measured doses of daily practice news and notes by those with cigar smoking assets. Our interests will focus on turning the calendar one day at a time until opening kickoff 2012.
Welcome new Longhorn football players!
Join us here for the live presser action.