There's a reason so many of us love Mack Brown. And there's a reason he's built this program into one of the very best in the country. And most of all, one we can be proud of.
He takes seriously his charge as the head coach of the state's most prominent university and understands the importance of his role. As Mack is so fond of saying, people love the head coach of the University of Texas, period. He's just a coach in that position and it's his job to represent the university and the state well.
He's right, of course, but we do love Mack, too. It's not just that he's the head coach of the football program. It's that he carries himself in a way that makes us proud as Texans, and as fans.
On Sunday, he did it again, taking the microphone to address reporters as the team reported for fall practice:
The two young men that had DUIs earlier in the year, Henry Melton, and a few weeks ago, Sergio Kindle, will report today. They will be involved with community service and with a mother who works with Mothers Against Drunk Driving who had her son badly crippled in an accident and later lost his life. So during the first few days of practice, these two young men will be sitting down, visiting with her, and let her explain to them how dangerous it is to be in a car after you have been drinking. They will also do community service for us and alcohol counseling, and they will be rejoining the team as soon as they get some of these things done, which could be as early as the end of the week. But they will miss the first three games of the season. They will not dress for those ball games or travel to those ball games. They will not play against Arkansas State, TCU, or Central Florida. At that time, I will sit down with both young men and see if we feel like they have learned from their experience and are ready to move forward as teammates. Obviously that penalizes our team as they are both talented football players, but with the problems with drunk driving and drugs in society right now, we thought it was a great opportunity for our team to stand up and take a strong stance against both of those actions and help get the attention of young people and adults in society. Also, it is a time where I need to stand up as a head coach and take responsibility for anything that is negative, be a strong leader, send a strong message and move forward with our football team.
Many of us were calling on Mack to send a strong message. He certainly did. I also called for 3-game suspensions for Kindle and Melton. Mack delivered there, as well.
Simply put: this is precisely how you'd like your head coach to handle something like this, and for all the hand wringing over these arrests, it's good to see that Mack Brown handled this as we'd expect him to.
This still isn't a good situation, by any means, but at least Mack Brown is taking it with all appropriate seriousness. Three game suspensions for Melton and Kindle is harsh, but fair, all things considered. Taking discipline into his own hands, with a note that this is separate from the legal process, is appropriately stern. If any players in the program had any doubts about the consequences of finding trouble while playing football at Texas, they don't any more.
Kudos to you, Mack.