AUSTIN, Texas (CBSMiami) – Time appears to be running out on the Mack Brown era at the University of Texas and that turns the focus to a name that still generates bile in the mouths of South Florida football fans, Nick Saban.
According to Orangebloods.com, Mack Brown will announce he is stepping down as head coach of the University of Texas. The Orangebloods.com report stated Brown will make the official announcement by the end of the week.
If Brown does indeed step down, he will leave Texas as the second-winningest coach of all time, behind only the legendary Darrell Royal. Brown will be reassigned to another job in a special advisory to the UT president’s office for the remainder of his contract, through 2020.
The Orangebloods.com report said Brown will receive a $2.75 million buyout after making $5.4 million as the head coach in 2013.
Brown has denied the story, but Orangebloods.com also reported in mid-September that athletic director DeLoss Dodds would be stepping down, which was subsequently denied by Dodds immediately. Dodds announced his retirement just two weeks later.
With the Brown era looking like it’s over, the attention has turned to who will replace the long-time coach at Texas. The name at the top of the speculation is Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
The legendary Alabama head coach, who also used to coach the Miami Dolphins, has had a contract extension from Bama on his desk since last Friday and hasn’t signed it yet, according to ESPN.com’s Paul Finebaum.
The ESPN.com report from Finebaum said the longer the contract extension goes unsigned by Saban, “the more uncomfortable Alabama officials grow.” The contract extension would run through 2020 and is expected to push Saban’s salary into the $7 million a year range if he signs it.
Saban and his wife have previously said they intended to finish his career at the University of Alabama. But, Texas has the ability to blow away any offer Alabama can make to Saban by essentially putting a blank check on the table and letting Saban fill in his price.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit told the Dallas Morning News Wednesday about Saban coming to Texas, “There’s no chance. No chance of that happening. Nick Saban will work TV sitting next to us on our set before he’ll be the head coach at Texas. He’ll be at Alabama for another five years, and then he’ll be working TV after that.”
However, remember Saban once swore up and down to Miami Dolphins fans and ownership that he was “not going to be the head coach at Alabama,” and that turned out to be anything but the truth. Saban also once was talking with Michigan State officials while his wife was negotiating with LSU for their head coaching position.
But, assuming Saban is off the list at Texas, the job will be quite appealing for most coaches as it’s still considered one of the three best coaching jobs in the country.
Among the candidates UT should look at if Saban is out of the mix: Art Briles, Baylor; David Shaw, Stanford; James Franklin, Vanderbilt; Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Charlie Strong, Louisville; and possibly Todd Graham from Arizona State.
Briles would be the logical choice after building a winner at Baylor. But Briles recently signed a contract extension and the school will be opening a new stadium next season. Gundy would be appealing after turning out solid teams at Oklahoma State, but billionaire T. Boone Pickens might fight to keep him there.
Strong and Shaw would be solid hires that could open up a lot of new avenues for the school. Graham has ties to UT’s new athletic director as both worked at Arizona State University and Graham turned the Sun Devils into a winner in just a few seasons.
But Franklin may be the most intriguing possible name to link to Texas. He’s a tireless recruiter that built a winner at Vanderbilt in the always tough SEC.