At 67 years old, former Texas Longhorns head coach Mack Brown is revered as one of college football’s greatest program builders of all time. After taking over at the University of Texas in 1998, Brown went on to win 158 games and made 10 bowl games over a 16-year run with the Longhorns.
After leaving the program following the 2013 Alamo Bowl, Brown didn’t leave the college football spotlight. He’s kept busy working as a college football analyst for ESPN and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in January 2018. This old dog still has some new tricks, though, and he’s bringing them back in a return to the place where he first built a national contender.
According to multiple reports, Mack Brown will become the 35th head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels football program after former coach Larry Fedora was fired following back-to-back nine-loss seasons.
This won’t be the first time Brown has set up camp in Chapel Hill. From 1988 to 1997, Brown turned a program that won only two games in his first two seasons into an 11-1 team in 1997 that finished as college football’s fourth-ranked squad in the AP Top 25.
During his first tenure at UNC, Brown’s teams went 69-46-1, which included three 10-win seasons, six-straight bowl appearances, and he churned out All-Americans Bracy Walker, Marcus Jones, Dre Bly and Greg Ellis, among multiple All-ACC performers.
Just before leaving Chapel Hill, Mack Brown also recruited one of the greatest North Carolina Tar Heels football players of all time: Julius Peppers.
Brown’s legacy as a football coach flourished at the University of Texas in Austin, where he built a national powerhouse that won 10 or more games in nine consecutive seasons. Brown also delivered Texas football their first national championship since 1970 when his Vince Young-led team knocked off the USC Trojans to win the BCS National Championship title game at the 2005 Rose Bowl.
Since leaving Texas, the Longhorns struggled to find success under Charlie Strong, but seem to have righted their ship under coach Tom Herman in 2018. They’re headed for a showdown with rival Oklahoma for a chance to win the Big 12 Championship for the first time since… well, Mack Brown.
It will be project to rebuild North Carolina football from the ground up, but there may be no one more equipped for this job. In addition to coaching small schools Appalachian State and Tulane, Brown played running back at Florida State, won the ACC Coach of the Year award in 1996, and was the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year in 2005.
If anyone knows how to recruit, rebuild and hold onto this North Carolina job, it’s Mack Brown, and the Tar Heels have landed themselves a major chess piece in their quest to knock off Clemson in the ACC.