Yahoo! source: Bill Powers withdrew support for Mack Brown, pushed him out

Erich Schlegel

The final hours of the mack Brown era were rather ugly ones, according to a source.

The resignation of Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown came after president Bill Powers withdrew support for Brown a day after telling him that he could stay on as the coach, according to a source who spoke with Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports.

In Brown's resignation press conference on December 15, he said that the decision for him to resign was a mutual one made during the previous day's meeting Powers and athletic director Steve Patterson.

However, the source said that was not the case, as Powers supposedly reversed his decision on that fateful Saturday, hours after expressing his support.

Why exactly that happened appears to be a source of speculation even for this particular source, who thought it was because angry regents called asking for Brown's ouster and threatening to withdraw support for Powers.

The article cites confirmation from Orangebloods on that account, but merely links the site's main page, making it hard to find that confirmation, especially if it was a post that remained behind the paywall.

With four loyalists of Governor Rick Perry on the Board of Regents, it would have taken another vote to oust Powers and it was reported at the time of the crucial meeting on December 12 that Powers had received six votes in his favor -- two Regents would have had to turn on Powers that Saturday in the aftermath of the football banquet and the announcement of Nick Saban's contract extension at Alabama.

Perhaps Steve Hicks was one, as he was one of the principal's involved in the January discussions with Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton.

And given that Powers was viewed as Brown's biggest supporter and seemingly a major reason why it appeared Brown was going to stay after the Friday football banquet that included multiple reports that Brown was indeed staying for at least one more season, it would have been a monumental change in position by Powers.

Not only that, but the source said that Patterson was used by Powers to convey the message directly after Patterson and Brown had discussed the program's future in detail, a decidedly cop-out move by Powers after his long relationship with Brown, if indeed it did happen that way.

In fact, that may be the most unbelievable part of the story -- not that Powers would change his mind, but that he would do so and then fail to man up and tell Brown himself.

Based on the above photo of Brown and Powers directly after Brown's resignation press conference, if it went down as the source told Yahoo! Sports, the soon-to-be-former Texas head coach certainly didn't appear to have any hard feelings towards his longtime friend and supporter.

Somehow, Brown "doesn't feel betrayed" by the Powers doing him like that, which is rather hard to believe for a head coach who was often notoriously thin-skinned and insecure.

If it is true how everything went down, the resignation playing out that way could have some consequences for the current coaching search:

Well, the answer is because Texas is Texas, and everything that means from the standpoint of an extremely lucrative contract and all the available resources to succeed.

That and the fact that the only thing that ultimately matters is winning -- do that at a high level and the next head coach will remain removed from untoward machinations of regents and big-money donors. The power structure can protect winning coaches, as it did Brown for so long, especially if the coach has the ability to curry favor with the shot-callers.

Texas athletics has been as dysfunctional as it has appeared to be over the last several weeks for some time. Probably a long time. To some extent, it's probably always there with so many big egos to appease and attempt to direct towards positive endeavors, but it's a dysfunction that doesn't surface when things are going well and everyone falls into line.

How many powerful athletic hierarchies really fall in line when things aren't going well? That hardly seems unique to Texas.

But back to the topic at hand -- this came from a source that almost certainly has an agenda they are pushing. It's an agenda that apparently was not served by enough information to even know why exactly Powers changed his mind, probably the most critical part of this version of what happened.

And so Forde ran with the story, unable or uninterested in finding confirmation, likely the former since it's hard to imagine that a major media outlet could be so derelict in its journalistic duty as not to find some substantiation somewhere.

Well, maybe not so hard to imagine, but certainly irresponsible, if that was the case.

(And so the story adds yet another "if" to it's long line of them.)

There are some holes in the story, ranging from the speculation about the crux of why Powers changed his mind to Brown's public behavior towards him in the hours after Powers supposedly used Patterson as his hatchet man, a move seemingly at odds with the longtime relationship between the president and the head coach, and an unknown agenda from the single source of the story.

So take it with a grain of salt, and know that while there may be high dysfunction in this decision-making process that raises questions about who is truly in charge of the coaching search, it's not a dysfunction that can't be mitigated by winning.

The next head coach should know that with great potential for glory and success, there comes equal or greater risk for catastrophe and dysfunction. In the end, for coaches that probably need great egos to feed to drive a lifestyle that is often neurotic, obsessive, and perhaps even a little psychotic, that seems unlikely to be a deal-breaker.

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