The "coach-in-waiting" blueprint seemed like such a good idea for a while there. Teams could offer recruits the promise of continuity, lock up a coveted assistant with a raise and the fanciest title available, and ease some of the leadership burden off of a (potentially) fading program patriarch, all in one fell swoop. What was not to love?
If you're Mack Brown, the same conflict between the current regime and its planned future one that made nearly every "coach-in-waiting" scheme over the past few years an overhyped failure. A "re-energized" Brown spoke on that topic and several others at a press conference yesterday, saying:
"The coach-in-waiting sends a message that I'm not in it for long," said Brown, whose contract runs through Dec. 31, 2016. "That's a bad message. That's not what we did it for. Now that Will [Muschamp]'s taken the Florida job, that question is out of the mix for the future ...Given how angry 'Horns backers became having to "put up with" Brown's 2010 effort (which he also took the time to blame on a massive 2009-induced hangover ), he may have wanted to have phrased that differently. But the point is the same: the 59-year-old Brown isn't planning on going anywhere, and clearly the "coach-in-waiting" method of gently nudging him towards the door is no longer an option.
"I wouldn't be working this hard on recruiting and coaching if I wasn't in it for a long time ... Texas fans are going to have to put up with me for a long time."
Assuming Brown's near-total overhaul of the Texas coaching staff (and the 'Horns hungover attitude) pays dividends, that's probably good news for the fans in Austin. If not -- if 2011 and 2012 are anything at all like 2010 -- he may find there's a coach out there waiting after all, even if he's not on the Texas payroll.