Thursday, March 22, 2012
Mack Brown talks retirement, fatigue
By David Ubben
AUSTIN, Texas -- Despite having the support of her administration and two years left on her contract, Texas women's basketball coach Gail Goestenkors resigned on Monday, and by Monday night, had a text waiting from Longhorns football coach Mack Brown.
He thanked her for her work, and told her he appreciated her.
"Who in the world knows how somebody feels?" Brown said.
Brown doesn't know exactly, but when Goestenkors says things like "My heart's telling me it's time to take a break," Brown knew he had some idea of what she was going through.
It came from a conversation with legendary Longhorns coach Darrell Royal back in 2003, when Brown felt similar to Goestenkors.
"I asked him, 'Why did you quit?'" Brown said. "And there were reasons. But he said that when the losses became devastating and the wins became relief and it wasn't fun to even win, because you were supposed to, then I needed to get out."
Brown, then in his sixth season and third of what would be nine consecutive 10-win seasons, said he just needed to "wake up."
Two years later, he won a national championship and his second consecutive Rose Bowl.
That feeling crept back in during the Longhorns' trying 5-7 season in 2010. Even Texas' signature victory of that campaign didn't offer the same kind of pleasure such a win used to, Brown said.
"I remember beating Nebraska, walking off the field and I was worried about [Brown's wife] Sally because she lost her brother," Brown said. "I didn't have any joy in that win and that was stupid because it was a huge win for Texas and these kids. I didn't feel it walking off the field because of her loss and I felt a little guilty I was there without her and her brother being buried."
He saw the same in Goestenkors, Brown said. He needed another wakeup call after 2010, and may have got it in a new staff with two new, young coordinators, Manny Diaz (defense) and Bryan Harsin (offense). Bouncing back for eight wins may have helped, too, but Texas has bigger things in mind for 2012 and beyond: Namely, a return to the excellence Brown established in his first decade at the helm in Austin.
"If you're going to walk around and pout when you lose, act like a baby, and when you win act arrogant, not feel good about a win because Texas is supposed to win -- we don't anoint ourselves supposed to win -- then you're in some trouble and you need to have fun," Brown said. "You need to have joy."