It finally happened.
We all knew the day was coming, but it finally happened.
The University of Texas has a new football coach for the first time in 16 years. That’s a long time!
Bill Clinton was president when Mack Brown took hold of a fledgling program. Google was in its infancy. Titanic received 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Michael Jordan completed his second three-peat with the Chicago Bulls.
But after 158 wins with the Longhorns, it was time for change. It was time for Texas to bring in some new blood.
Earlier this week, former Louisville coach Charlie Strong became the man responsible for replacing a legend.
While the task might be daunting, lets face it, the Longhorns really have nowhere to go but up.
I covered Brown’s final game and watched as Oregon played one of its worst offensive games of the season yet still easily cruised to victory. I witnessed countless opportunities pass Texas by, and I seriously questioned some of Brown’s in-game decisions.
As a graduate of Texas, it was difficult to watch Brown’s career come to a close, but it was even more disturbing to watch him flounder during recent years.
I moved from my hometown of San Antonio to Austin right before Brown left North Carolina, and I lived in the state’s capital during the program’s heyday. It was a glorious time.
Brown helped give me countless memories I will cherish forever.
He allowed me to enjoy the most raucous Sixth Street celebration in recent history after winning the 2005 national championship, and he was at the epicenter of one of the most emotional victories I’ve ever seen as Texas beat bitter rival Texas A&M in the series finale.
He also drove me crazy at times, but there were far more fond memories.
Now, Texas has a new coach, and it is going to take some adjusting before I’m comfortable with things.
Strong was not my first choice to fill the position. He wasn’t my second or my third either. In fact, I could rattle off a handful of names before I even stopped to consider Strong.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not as opposed to his hire as Red McCombs. While I’d preferred another coach inherited the program, circumstance eliminated a number of prospects, and after all was said and done, Strong emerged as the most attractive option.
Although I wanted a higher-profile, bigger-name coach, I’m not going to knock Strong. After all, Brown was not exactly a coaching icon when he arrived in Austin.
Like Strong, Brown was an up-and-comer, who had a decent amount of success before receiving the offer to take over at Texas. Expectations were high, but I don’t think many believed Brown was capable of everything he accomplished.
Brown’s run was unlike any other, and it will be impossible to replicate.
Regardless of how Strong does in the coming years at Texas, I know he will give me new memories. Hopefully, the majority is positive.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org