SAN ANTONIO — Mack Brown arrived for the Alamo Bowl with an unranked team and staring at his final game at Texas after 16 seasons.
It’s hardly the ending the coach wanted, but his players say they want to at least deliver a fond farewell.
“The man has done a lot for the university, for college football,” quarterback Case McCoy said Friday. “You can’t look past that by any means. You can look at his records. You can look at what he’s built at Texas.”
Following a season of tension and frustration at Texas, the Longhorns (8-4) say they’re relieved heading into Monday’s game against No. 10 Oregon (10-2) that they can now reflect on Brown’s legacy instead of constantly hearing questions about his future.
Brown announced this month that the Alamo Bowl will be his final game at Texas after losing at least four games for a fourth consecutive season. The school has yet to choose who will succeed the second-winningest football coach in Texas history, behind Darrell Royal.
Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite, who also played under Brown, acknowledged that distractions surrounding Brown have extended far back as the last three years. He recalled Will Muschamp being named the head coach-in-waiting before leaving for Florida, and the ensuing questions about when Brown might leave — which only intensified as the Longhorns sputtered.
Applewhite said he was proud of players for handling the atmosphere of uncertainty.
“Honestly, the only four hours they had some peace and solidarity was Saturday when they played,” Applewhite said. “Every other time, they’re listening to it.”
Brown isn’t scheduled to speak to reporters until Sunday. He hasn’t spoken publicly since a Dec. 15 news conference when he said he was stepping down and acknowledged that his teams were no longer meeting the lofty expectations that set during the height of his run.