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Friday, December 5, 1997

Mack Brown resigns to take Texas job

By SKIP FOREMAN / Associated Press Writer

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Mack Brown, who spent 10 years building North Carolina into a football power, resigned Thursday and will now try to return Texas to the prominence it once enjoyed.

Brown, whose No. 7 Tar Heels are candidates for an alliance bowl berth, will inherit a Longhorn team that went 4-7 this season, leading to John Mackovic's dismissal last month.

"We've had a good run. We've had a good stay," Brown said. "There's not any reason for me to leave here. I think it's the challenge of starting over. ... I never thought I'd leave here."

In less than two months, the Tar Heels have now lost their football and basketball coaches. Dean Smith, college basketball's winningest coach, retired Oct. 9.

Brown reportedly will receive $625,000 per year at Texas, considerably more than his base salary at North Carolina of $165,000, not including TV, radio and shoe deals.

He built a 69-46-1 record at North Carolina, which went 10-2 last year and made it to the Gator Bowl. The Tar Heels are 10-1 this season.

Brown announced his decision after meeting with his players. He said it hasn't been decided whether he will coach the Tar Heels in their bowl appearance.

"The hardest thing is to leave the kids," he said. "I do love those kids. You probably spend more time with the football players than your own family."

He and his wife on Thursday discussed moving to Austin, and Brown met with athletic director Dick Baddour shortly before his impromptu news conference.

"I felt it would be unfair to wait any longer for everybody involved," he said.

Brown said Baddour and Chancellor Michael Hooker "did more than they should have done to try to get me to stay."

Baddour likened the discussions leading to Brown's decision to the death of a relative or friend.

"I don't have a better friend than Mack Brown," he said. "Mack Brown came here with a vision for North Carolina football, and I would say that vision has been achieved."

Brown said North Carolina's recruits will be notified of his departure. He said he believes he will leave the football program in better shape than he found it.

"It's going to be real bad for them. I pray they don't go out and do nothing crazy," senior defensive end Greg Ellis said of the underclassmen. ... "Some players in (the meeting) looked really hurt. I was really hurt. I can't possibly hurt like those other guys are hurting. Now, it's like, 'What do I do?' "

Sophomore tight end Alge Crumpler said he won't let Brown's decision affect him.

"The guys who came before me, they laid the foundation for everything that's been built," Crumpler said. "I'm just hoping to continue that."

Texas gets a coach who has proved he can win at a school with strong academics and is an offensive coach who has also fielded strong defenses.

The Tar Heels are second to top-ranked Michigan in total defense, giving up just 209.3 yards per game.

Carolina's 45 wins over the past five years are second-best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, behind Florida State. The Tar Heels have made five consecutive bowl appearances, winning three. They lost to Texas 35-31 in the 1994 Sun Bowl.

Before coaching at North Carolina, Brown was at Tulane, where he had records of 1-10 (1985), 4-7 (1986) and 6-6 (1987). Brown coached Appalachian State for the 1983 season, finishing 6-5, before becoming offensive coordinator under Barry Switzer at Oklahoma in 1984.

Brown was offensive coordinator at LSU in 1982, a year in which the Tigers went 8-2-1 and played in the Orange Bowl. He also served as offensive coordinator at Iowa State and as receivers coach at Southern Mississippi and at Memphis State.

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