Mack Brown: I Wasn't Having Fun At Texas

Brown explains why his last few years at Texas were rough – and why he plans on winning 12 games at North Carolina this season

Zach Gelb
August 27, 2019 - 8:40 am
Mack Brown North Carolina

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Mack Brown will be back on the sidelines this fall for the first time since 2013, as he begins his second head-coaching stint at North Carolina. Brown previously served as Tar Heels head coach from 1988 to 1997.

As he enters his first job in six years, he’s reminded of a conversation he once had with Texas coaching legend Darrell Royal, who led the Longhorns to three national titles.

“I said, ‘Coach, after you quit coaching, did you still get nervous on Saturdays?’” Brown recalled on The Zach Gelb Show. “He said, ‘I thought everybody threw up every Saturday morning before ball games like I did. It was about six or eight months afterwards, and that was the first time I was actually not nervous.’ So I’m sure coaches get anxious just because you want your guys to do well and you’re pulling so hard for your team.”

Brown knows from experience what that feels like. He won 10-plus games at Texas nine years in a row from 2001-09, but he averaged 7.5 wins a year over his final four seasons in Austin.

“At the end at Texas, I wasn’t having a lot of fun,” Brown said. “You win all the games, and then you come back and you feel like every year after that you got to win all the games – and if you don’t, you’re not being successful. And then we started winning eight and nine instead of 13, and that put us in a position where I wasn’t having much fun. 

“So I told myself this time, I’m going to enjoy Saturday,” Brown continued. “I’m going to enjoy that game, I’m going to enjoy the competition and fight to win it. And then when it’s over, if we win ugly, I’m going to be happy; if we win, I’m going to be happy; if we lose, I’m going to be disappointed, but I’m not going to get down. I’m going to pick the guys back up and get ready for Miami on Sunday.”

North Carolina, which is 5-18 over the last two seasons, opens against South Carolina this Saturday. It also faces Miami on Sept. 7 and No. 1 Clemson on Sept. 28.

“I told them let’s plan on winning 12 and then see where it goes,” Brown said of this year’s expectations. “How good a coach would I be if I told you, ‘I think we’d win six.’ Then they would have to sit around and wonder which six I didn’t think we were going to win. What I’ve told these guys is it’s not about my past or your past; it’s not about either of our futures; it’s about now. We have a chance each week to win. We have 11 bowl teams on our schedule, a lot of really tough teams right out of the box, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t win those games. Let’s go do everything we can do to win the games.”

Click below to listen to Brown’s interview in its entirety.