As one of the biggest Mack Brown apologists there is, I thought it fitting to give the big guy a proper eulogy. In addition, despite my intense dislike of all the negativity that surrounded on BON, I feel it is important for Longhorn Nation to get a proper perspective, supporting whatever action comes about, and getting fired up to putting an end to the malaise that has surrounded the football program over the last few years.
First, I am a Texas fan, and a Mack Brown because of the way he ran the program. Quite simply, Texas is an oasis of the way things should be, in a dessert of a sleaze, cheat, payola, oversigning, all under the watchful but blind eye of one of the most corrupt organizations in existence. While others paid street agents, Mack took a different approach - he turned them in.
Second, I applaud the manner that Mack handled the schollie process, and the athletes in Texas. There is a reason that even today the Texas offer is the most solid, fair, and one of the more sought in the world of the NCAA. When Mack makes you an offer, you got an offer. And if something happens to you during the senior year - he is there for the student athlete, just ask Matt Nader. As we look forward to the possible advent of the Satan, err Saban era, we will begin the legal, but ugly process of oversigning, and funneling the lesser takes and injuries out of the program. I agree it needs to be done, but I will miss the care and commitment that Texas football showed its charges. You see, I would rather go 9-4 with ethics, prestige than 12-1 with sleaze and sign tactics. Unfortunately, that is a naïve and untenable position in today's environment.
Hopefully we are able to walk that tightrope between legal sleaze and the slippery slope that causes your program to derail. As much as you can poo poo ethics - the reality is there is a huge and lasting stench to those tactics. If you want proof, lets look back to that magical night in early 2006, when Mack and VY delivered the MNC. Where are those 2 programs since that night? In Texas, we have our integrity in tact, and are looking for a coach. When that coach comes into the program, he will have the capability to immediately energize and engineer a quick return to greatness. In USC, the coach slithered to the NFL, they have a vacated stiff arm trophy, and a completely tarnished brand that has stained the University for at least 8 years. Oh BTW - they have had exactly zero significance since that night, while we had another MNC appearance and Big XII title.
It is so fitting that Mack's end came at the hands of the Baylor Bears. That game represented the best and worst of Mack Brown. On one hand, Baylor became a force because of players on the take that did not have the ethics and integrity to play at Texas. My obsolete, old fashioned take is you can have the game, we will take our integrity. On the other hand, Mack's waffling vision for what our offensive and defensive systems should be helped build Art Briles' program that featured a crystal clear vision of what they wanted to be, and what type of athletes were needed to get there.
With the general perception that Mack is a bumbling, ineffectual coach that has long outlived his usefulness, those thoughts do not stain my perception of the man. I personally will be eternally grateful for the faithful custodianship of the best brand in college football, and the 2 most memorable Rose Bowls in my life. Even the night that signaled the beginning of the end for Mack, I still appreciate the fight and disappointment ironically vs. Bama in the 2009 MNC.
So now, while others analyze the minutia of the root causes, and the failures - I will simply say Horns Up Mack - you did us proud!