Former Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown denies that he told Texas commits to look around at other programs after he resigned last December, taking to Twitter to tell his side of the story on Tuesday afternoon:
Some of you have asked about my visit w/recruits & their families after I stepped down. Let me assure you it was all positive towards Texas!— Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) February 4, 2014
Our new AD Steve Patterson was there with me and I told the entire group that Texas would hire a great coach, it is a wonderful place ...— Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) February 4, 2014
... and they absolutely should still come.— Mack Brown (@UT_MackBrown) February 4, 2014
Texas commit John Bonney, who recently took visits to Auburn and Baylor but appears set to sign with Texas on Wednesday, generated headlines when he said the following to a local Houston television station:
I was at my official visit when Mack Brown resigned and he told us all to go look around. He said he'd even talk to other coaches for you and everything because he really just wanted the best for us as players.
In the immediate aftermath of the comments from Bonney, it was easy to correlate Brown making those statements to recruits with the rash of decommitments that have plagued the start of Charlie Strong's tenure in Austin.
However, it was also hard to reconcile what Bonney said with the way a coach with the integrity of Brown would be expected to handle things on the way out, even though Brown believed he deserved another season to continue his rebuilding efforts.
Perhaps Bonney simply misremembered what it was that Brown said, as it is now well after the fact. Perhaps there was even an important qualification to Brown's statement, with the head coach telling prospects that he would help them if they wanted to look around, something that sounds much more in line with how Brown handled players transferring out of the program.
In fact, that seems to be the case, as Jerry Bonney, John Bonney's father, clarified to ESPN on Tuesday:
I was standing right there when he made the statement. His first general statement to the kids and all of us [family members] was 'I'm not telling you not to come to Texas. I think this is a fine place and you should stay [if you're committed to Texas]. However, if you are coming here for me to coach you and that was the main reason you were coming, those of you in that category, I certainly encourage you to look elsewhere because I won't be your coach. I'm stepping down immediately after the Oregon game.'
More confirmation, then, that the younger Bonney either didn't completely remember the conversation or slightly misspoke when he was relating it recently.