The Texas Longhorns do not have a head coach for the first time in 16 years after Dec. 14. However, the Longhorns likely hoped that if and when Mack Brown finally resigned, Nick Saban would jump ship to Texas. But after reports that Saban agreed to a new long term deal with Alabama on Dec. 13, there was still no going back for Texas or Brown, as the long-time Longhorns coach stepped down anyway.
Brown will stay on board to coach the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl against the Oregon Ducks on Dec. 30. At that point, Texas will probably still need a big name head coach to replace him, although it didn't look like such an attractive destination this past week.
Brown was virtually forced out after the Longhorns' last few mediocre seasons -- a far cry from their national championship year in 2005. His fate was almost sealed after a 1-2 start to this season, yet Texas still rallied to have a shot at the Big 12 title in its final game. But when the Longhorns were blown out by the Baylor Bears on Dec. 7, the anticipation began for Brown's resignation or firing.
It was also accelerated by rumors that Texas was trying to lure Saban -- an even bigger name and more accomplished coach than Brown. Given Saban's past history of suddenly changing jobs, and the huge resources Texas has thanks to its television network, it could have hired him with the biggest contract in college football history. Instead, Saban reportedly agreed to a lucrative new deal that will pay him between $7 and $7.5 million a year, according to TideSports.com.
With the Longhorns' decline on the field, the way Brown's tenure ended and the excessive expectations in Texas, what big name head coach will want to take it on? ESPN's Brett McMurphy mentioned names like Jimbo Fisher, Gus Malzahn, Mike Gundy, James Franklin and David Shaw as names of potential interest, although many of them have long term deals with their current schools.
Fisher and Malzahn will face off in the national title game on Jan. 6, which could make the Longhorns more willing to wait. By then, Texas hopes the last ugly days of the Brown era will be forgotten, compared to the lucrative contract it will likely throw at his replacement.