Return of the Mack or bye bye Brown? Speculations on the future of University of Texas head coach Mack Brown have been running rampant since the beginning of the 2013 college football season; and it seems as though no one has a clear answer. Rumors that Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been offered an 8 year $85 million contract from The University of Texas have been the center of this unanswered question about the Longhorn head coach of 15 years; reports www.espn.com. So many questions, so little answers; should he stay or should he go?
Examiner.com sat down Fox Sports Play-by-Play Broadcaster Ron Thulin, a Dallas local and close friend of Mack Brown, to get an insiders opinion on this situation. Ron has over 35 years in the sports broadcasting business doing play-by-play for the NBA and college football for Turner Sports, Ron is currently covering college football and basketball with Fox Sports. With Ron’s experience, knowledge of the politics in college sports and close relationship with Brown, he weighs in on "Brownergate".
KT: Thank you Ron for speaking with me! This is one of the biggest stories in the news right now and with you announcing college football for over 30 years and knowing Mack since his days at North Carolina; what is your reaction to the Mack Brown rumors?
RT: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to speak about one of my favorite subjects, college football, and also one of my favorite people, Mack Brown. You know it is kind of disheartening to me. The fact he has been with a program through wins and loses and has done so much for the school; to have these rumors going around, I think it is a disservice to Mack. There may be some truth to it, but I don’t know right now; I don’t think anyone does. What really bothers me about this Katie, having covering college football for nearly 40 years, is the fact that some of these boosters are going out and doing this behind Mack’s back and that bothers me. Mack deserves better than that. If you want to let him go, fine, that’s part of the business; but to go behind his back for the last couple of weeks is very discouraging to me. That these guys can’t man up and just tell him is just sad.
KT: I am sure many people would agree with you on that as well. Since you are close with Mack, how do you think he is handling this? What do you think is going through his head right now?
RT: Well, you know I have been with Mack in the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Mack is handling this the way Mack is; Mack handles everything with class and with dignity. Listening to him in fact on Thursday morning at the Alamo Bowl press conference, Mack said, “Listen, I am here to talk about the team, I’m here to talk about The University of Texas; this isn’t about me.”. That is quintessential Mack Brown. He knows this is all going on, he is not oblivious to it all; but he is concerned about The University of Texas, recruiting kids for next year, and winning the Alamo Bowl against Oregon. He has put this all aside. He is handling this with more class than most people have been handling this; and that doesn’t surprise me a bit. If you know Mack Brown, what you see is what you get.
KT: That is rare to see a head coach with so much humility. Now, let’s talk about Nick Saban. Rumors have been swirling that he has been offered an 8 year $85 million contract by UT. Hypothetically, if he was offered this contract, do you think Saban will leave Alabama to go to The University of Texas?
RT: Nick is not Mack Brown; not as far as football but the other peripheral things that comes along with being a head coach. When it comes to Nick Saban, I think it will depend a lot on what his wife wants to do. Anyone that knows Saban, knows his wife has a very big say so. AJ McCarron, his quarterback at Alabama said today that Saban isn’t going anywhere. That he was told by the coach he doesn’t want to leave. Nick himself has said, “I’m 62 I don’t want to start over again.” but he has told a couple of teams he wasn’t going anywhere but then leaves. I am not sure it's so much about the money for him; he has more money now than he will ever need. Alabama is set to open up the bank for him just like Texas is; Texas can do it, but why move? Why do this when you are entrenched in Alabama, have an incredible recruiting class, an outstanding team coming back next year; why would you want to leave at the age of 62? I go along with Red McCombs, one of the big boosters at The University of Texas, who said today he would be surprised if all this happens. Does Texas have the money to pay for Saban? Absolutely, but I don’t see the sense in him leaving Alabama to make, what I think, is a lateral move. I just don’t see it happening.
KT: Well I do love a man that takes his woman’s opinion over everyone else! So, final question, how do you think this is going to affect to future of the football program at UT if Mack does leave?
RT: You know that is a very good question. I think it is affecting them right now. The problem is, when you are recruiting this time of year, everybody that is recruiting the same players as Texas; is telling those kids “Hey why would you want to go to Texas you don’t know who will be coaching there.” I think it is already effecting the program, and affecting the boosters and most importantly preparation for the Alamo Bowl. I think this is a big domino effect started by rumors and started by a couple of guys who thought they were bigger than the program and that is sad. I think those boosters should man up, come out and say, yeah we started all this stuff. If Texas does hire someone else, they better fit Texas; that is a huge key. You have to do things at The University of Texas that Nick Saban does not do at Alabama. Not like Mack does; you're a fundraiser also. I hope the situation gets settled quickly and Mack gets to do it the way he wants and not the way some booster wants."
KT: Absolutely, and best wishes to Mack, the whole UT football organization and everyone else involved. We all hope this gets resolved quickly and properly. Thank you again for your time Ron; we really appreciate your insight on this situation.
RT: It was my pleasure thank you so much for having me.
For more on Ron Thulin visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Thulin