Mack Brown: Nothing has changed
SAN ANTONIO -- Besieged Texas coach Mack Brown said Thursday he has no interest in discussing his job status or campaigning for his job and that he plans to meet with new athletic director Steve Patterson and university president Bill Powers about his future.
Brown, speaking at a Valero Alamo Bowl news conference, insisted nothing has changed.
"There's been a little speculation about my job situation," Brown said. "We're not here to talk about me. My situation has not changed. I have the best president in the country in Bill Powers. He's done a tremendous job. We've lost an iconic athletic director in DeLoss Dodds. He's been my boss for 16 years. We hired what I think is a great athletic director in Steve Patterson.
"Any time the athletic director changes, it changes the game. I will sit down and talk to him and Bill and discuss the direction we're going. I'm looking forward to my meeting with Bill and Steve and then move forward."
When Brown returns to Austin from a Friday morning recruiting trip to Houston, he will meet with Powers and Patterson, a source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy. The specific time of Brown's meeting with Powers and Patterson is not known. The Longhorns' team banquet begins at 7:30 p.m. ET.
On Thursday morning, Brown attended an Alamo Bowl function in San Antonio and then later Thursday visited recruits in Beaumont and Longview, Texas, a source told ESPN.
Brown on Friday met with Roderick Bernard, a Sharpstown High wide receiver who has committed to Texas, in Houston and was to return to Austin to meet with several recruits, a source said.
While it is possible the process might come to a conclusion Friday with Brown resigning and the evening Texas football banquet becoming a celebration of Brown's career, a source cautioned the conversation might not go so smoothly and the situation could drag into or through the weekend. The source said there have been discussions about how Brown might transition to another role with the university.
Brown has been promised a "real, substantive conversation," according to a source, although a different source said it is believed Brown in the end will do what is in the best interest of the program and, realizing there is not stable support, step aside.
The UT System Board of Regents took no action early Thursday evening on Powers' employment status after a closed session concerning the matter. Francisco Cigarroa, the chancellor of the University of Texas system, said Powers should keep his job, despite a "strained" relationship that Cigarroa hoped could improve.
"I'm going to focus on this. We'll discuss football at the appropriate time," Powers said after the meeting.
Meanwhile, Brown -- the coach at Texas since 1998 -- stuck to his plan to talk only about the game. Asked whether the Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl against Oregon will be his last game as Longhorns coach, Brown declined to acknowledge the possibility.
"I'm excited about the game," he said. "I said we wouldn't talk about me or my future. I am going to have that meeting with Bill and with Steve Patterson. I look forward to that meeting, but we're not going to discuss that any more today. We're just going to talk about the ballgame."
Brown repeatedly said he wanted the focus of the day and the bowl to be on the players and not on him. His demeanor was no different than usual, even cracking jokes with first-year Ducks coach Mark Helfrich during their 25-minute joint news conference at The Club at Sonterra golf course in San Antonio.
After Brown left the podium, he greeted longtime Texas booster Red McCombs -- one of his closest friends and allies. And after Brown was ushered away by bowl reps, the San Antonio billionaire expressed his disappointment over the possibility that Brown's tenure might soon end.
"I think that Mack has earned the right to choose whatever he wants to do, whether he wants to stay or he wants to go," said McCombs, a former owner of the San Antonio Spurs. "If you can find a reason to get rid of a guy like that, you'd really have to reach."
McCombs, who has a statue at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, said he hasn't met Nick Saban but that he admires the Alabama coach. If Brown steps aside and Texas pursues Saban, McCombs believes it can get him and that cost won't be an issue.
"I don't think there's any question about getting him," McCombs said. "When Mack came there, budgets were an issue. They're not an issue now. Hell, all the money that's not in the Vatican is up at UT."
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, however, told ESPN on Thursday that Saban "told me he's not leaving."
After the news conference, Brown boarded a flight to Beaumont, Texas, to visit five-star cornerback recruit Tony Brown.
After opening the season 1-2 with blowout losses to BYU and Mississippi, Texas rallied to start 6-0 in Big 12 play before losing two of its final three games, including a 30-10 decision to Baylor on Saturday in what had become a de facto conference title game.
While nothing officially has been announced regarding Brown's future with Texas, the school already has a short list of candidates to replace him. It includes San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.
No talks have occurred between Harbaugh and the school, sources told Mortensen, and no proposals have been exchanged. Harbaugh on Wednesday declined comment on reports he was on Texas' list.
Orangebloods.com first reported Tuesday that Brown will resign after 16 years as coach.
ESPN's Joe Schad and Brett McMurphy, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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