Mack is back wearing that familiar Carolina blue.
Mack Brown, who guided the North Carolina Tar Heels for 10 years before coming to Texas, has agreed to return to Chapel Hill and replace Larry Fedora, according to UNC’s 247Sports website.
The Charlotte Observer confirmed the report Monday, although the school had yet to make an official announcement.
Brown, 67, has been working as an ESPN analyst since leaving Texas after a 16-year run that included two Big 12 titles and the 2005 national championship. He did not immediately respond to a message left by the American-Statesman.
However, a source told the Statesman that Brown had been telling friends a deal was imminent. Brown, who is active on social media, had gone silent on Twitter the last few days.
Brown was still receiving a $500,000 annual salary from Texas to be a special assistant to school president Gregory L. Fenves. That would stop if Brown was hired anywhere else.
Brown generally stayed away from UT during Charlie Strong’s three-year run from 2014-16. He became an off-and-on regular at UT practices under current coach Tom Herman the last two years.
Brown would be a throwback hire for the Tar Heels. In Brown’s first two seasons in 1988-89, UNC was 1-10 in back-to-back years. But they steadily grew into an ACC power, winning 10 games in 1993 and then posting double-digit wins in 1996 and ’97.
He was 69-46-1 in 10 seasons overall in Chapel Hill before then-Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds hired Brown to join the Longhorns.
Brown, originally from Cookeville, Tenn., has a career record of 238-117-1 record in 29 years as a head coach. That includes his time at Tulane from 1985-87 before he joined North Carolina.
He’s known throughout the college football world for his time at Texas. Brown took over a program that won the Big 12 championship under John Mackovic in 1996 but went 4-7 the following year. Three sets of goal posts were torn down by opposing fan bases as UT fans revolted in the giant step backward.
With his smooth charm and down-home wit, Brown instantly won people over with his message to “Come early, be loud, stay late.” The Horns were 9-3 in his first season as running back Ricky Williams won the Heisman Trophy. Brown’s program was off and running, too.
The Longhorns eventually went 11-2 in 2001, kickstarting a stretch of eight-straight years of double-digit winning seasons. The 2005 team featured quarterback Vince Young, considered one of the best players in school history, who led UT to a win over USC in the Bowl Championship Series national title game.
There are plenty of Brown’s friends readily available to form a stout coaching staff. Former Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik is a commentator for SEC Network. Kliff Kingsbury, known for his offensive wizardry, was just fired by Texas Tech on Sunday.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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