Who Will Succeed Mack Brown?
By Dan Harralson
The Mack Brown ordeal is officially over in Austin, which leads to a major question: Who will become the Longhorns' next head coach?
Brown admitted that his Texas teams were not living up to the winning standard as of late. Texas recorded a 30-20 record since its loss to Alabama in the 2009 BCS national championship game. Where does Texas go from here?
Striking Out On Saban
As expected, Texas struck out in their pursuit of reeling Nick Saban away from Tuscaloosa.
Texas regent Wallace Hall of Dallas told the AP he spoke by telephone with Saban's agent Jimmy Sexton a few days after Alabama beat Notre Dame for the national championship. Tom Hicks, a former regent who is the brother of current regent Steve Hicks, also was on the call. Tom Hicks, the former owner of the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars and the English professional soccer team Liverpool, was a regent in 1997 when Brown came to Texas and played a role in hiring Brown away from North Carolina.
Saban put an end to the Texas coaching rumors and proclaimed he'll end his collegiate career at Alabama. The NFL may come calling before the end of the decade approaches, but the AP two-time coach of the year has two more recruiting classes ahead of him with an even recruiting field.
Negative recruiting will surface as Saban's last coaching window approaches. After the 2015 season, assuming he doesn't sign another new deal, coaches will remind recruits of his expiring contract with the possibility of Saban not being at Alabama for their entire four-year career. That's part of coaching and Saban will look to chase Bear Bryant's six national championships before his current contract ends.
The details of Saban's contract extension have not been fully reported, but he'll make about $7 million per year. No additional years have been tacked on to his previous contract set to expire at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
Who Will Texas Go After?
Saban's out of the picture, which leads to the reserve list. Or is there a reserve list?
Justin Wells, whom covers the Longhorns for Inside Texas, shared possible coaching candidates with Football.com. Let's take a look at which coaching candidates Texas may consider.
Jimbo Fisher: The Longhorns will have to wait until after Jan. 6 when the BCS national championship game concludes, but is Fisher really an upgrade from Mack Brown? Fisher is 13-0 with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston as the 'Noles signal caller. Without Winston, Fisher is 31-10, which causes questions if Jimbo is ready for a job like Texas.
James Franklin: Another head coach that has a late bowl game on the docket as Vanderbilt plays Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 4. If Texas really wants Franklin, the BBVA Compass Bowl should not get in the way. Three consecutive bowl appearances at Vanderbilt shows Franklin deserves consideration for one of college football's premiere jobs.
Art Briles: Baylor's Briles is Texas football. From coaching Texas high school football, to becoming an assistant at Texas Tech, to climbing the head coaching ladder collegiately in the Lone Star state at Houston and Baylor, Briles not only understands Texas football throughout the state, but also understands the cultural impact of Longhorns football. This is a dream job that Briles couldn't turn down. He'd have the ability to translate his Conference USA and Big 12 championships into a national championship in Austin.
Jim Mora Jr.: Mora has transitioned into a fine college coach with an 18-8 record through two seasons at UCLA. But Mora may feel back-to-back nine-win seasons and Holiday and Sun Bowl appearances may be the height of the Bruins program. Texas could allow a Mora-led Longhorns program the ability to make the College Football Playoff on an annual basis.