Former Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown is reportedly interested in replacing interim athletic director Mike Perrin:
Mack Brown is making a push to become the next Texas AD, according to Geoff Ketchum of Orangebloods. However, Ketchum reports that Longhorns stakeholders have reservations about Brown’s fitness for the position and that TCU’s Chris Del Conte — who worked with Tom Herman at Rice — is the name most commonly mentioned for the job.
Perrin, a former Longhorns football letterman, has served in the role since 2015, when the brief but tumultuous tenure of Steve Patterson ended with his termination after less than two years on the job.
Early in 2017, president Greg Fenves said that he expected Perrin to serve at least through the end of the year, but will likely remain in the role longer than that — Texas hasn’t yet started interviewing candidates to replace him. Perrin is currently working without a contract.
The reported interest from Brown is a reversal from his position in 2015, when he told CBS Sports that he didn’t want the position. Brown has been working as a football analyst on ESPN since then, but perhaps hasn’t had the coaching opportunities that he expected at the time.
Former Texas beat writer Mike Finger actually likes the idea of Brown taking over:
A hot take I did not expect to have on Mack Brown as Texas AD -- Given where the entire department is now, I sort of think he'd be perfect.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 8, 2017
Correct. If you are fully committed to Herman and Smart and just need an AD to rally support for both, no one would be better than Mack. https://t.co/inRuT6W4Bw— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 8, 2017
1. If Mack proved anything as a coach, it's that he can delegate the complicated stuff.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 8, 2017
2. He's always been genuinely curious/informed about the landscape.
3. Nobody's a better glad-hander. https://t.co/GvxlC2UzWb
Now, if Texas were about to make a major coaching change, I might look for a different kind of AD. But I don't sense that's the case.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 8, 2017
Someone like Del Conte obviously would be wonderful. But short of that, Texas could do worse than having Mack hold things down for ~3 years. Herman, particularly, could benefit from having him around.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) November 8, 2017
In the three major sports, head football coach Tom Herman is still in his first season, head men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart is entering his third season with his most talented team to date, and head baseball coach David Pierce is entering his second season. Smart is facing the most pressure to win now, but Herman and Pierce especially should have some time to turn their respective programs around.
The biggest decisions facing the next Texas athletic director are the location of the new basketball stadium and possible renovations to the south end zone of Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium, with finding a new location for the football practice facility also looming. Patterson was brought in as an agent of change expected to hire new coaches in football and basketball and to lead the work on those capital projects.
And for all of the skills that could make Brown appealing as the Texas athletic director, he doesn’t have the experience in leading those types of projects, which could be a detriment to his candidacy. However, as Finger mentioned, he would be an excellent fundraiser for those projects.
Del Conte, on the other hand, does have that type of experience — he’s overseen over $300 million in construction projects since taking over at TCU in 2009, in addition to facilitating the entrance of the Horned Frogs into the Big 12. With the future of the conference still in peril past the end of the television grant of rights in several years, Del Conte would be an ideal candidate to lead Longhorns athletics into the future.
The bigger question is whether he would be willing to leave a conference rival to take over at Texas.