North Carolina Football: Mack Brown hiring a disaster for Tar Heels

Mack Brown, Texas Longhorns. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Mack Brown, Texas Longhorns. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Less than 24 hours since making the Larry Fedora firing official, North Carolina football has reportedly hired Mack Brown as their head coach.

Apparently, with the thought that they had to move on him before someone else did, North Carolina has moved quickly to name Mack Brown their next head coach.

Brown coached at North Carolina from 1988-1997 before taking over at Texas and leading the Longhorns for 16 seasons, culminating in a National Championship in 2005 and a runner-up finish in 2009. Brown has compiled a 244-122-1 career record, and obviously has the pedigree that you would want in a major college football coach.

If it was ten years ago.

Brown will be 68-years-old by the time the next season starts, and has been out of coaching for five years. Brown has spent the last several years as an analyst and color commentator for ESPN, and at no point during his incoherent ramblings on ESPN did Brown ever sound like someone who should be a coach at a major college football program again.

The game passed him by years ago, and the changes across college football since he left coaching in 2013 have been enormous, potentially bigger than any during his long tenure in Austin.

Brown was at once at the top of the college football world, widely thought as one of the game’s top coaches, but his tenure at Texas met an unceremonious end, as often is the case for old coaches who are unable to adapt to the changing landscape.

After finishing no lower than 13th in the final AP Poll from 2000-2009, Texas finished ranked only one time in Brown’s final four seasons, compiling a 30-21 record over that span. Brown was more or less forced to resign, and Texas has yet to really get back to the lofty heights they ascended to during his tenure, although Tom Herman does have Texas on the brink of being “back”, particularly if they can upset Oklahoma and capture the Big 12 this weekend.

The thought with Brown is that he can go to Chapel Hill and be more of a CEO type while assembling a strong staff. The early rumor is that he is going to try and bring former Texas Tech Head Coach and offensive savant Kliff Kingsbury on board as his OC, but Coach Cool will have no shortage of offers to take over offenses during this cycle, and can almost certainly do better than hopping aboard the retread ship.

Gene Chizik is rumored to be his top choice as defensive coordinator, but Chizik left Chapel Hill two years ago from that same position in order to be closer to his family in Auburn, and by all accounts seems to enjoy being a dad. I would be surprised to see him make the leap back to the Tar Heels. His defenses during that two-year span were also unspectacular, finishing 96th and 63rd in total defense, respectively.

Having the right staff was never the problem over his final days in Austin, either, as Texas always had the resources to assemble the finest coaching staffs money could buy. In the recruiting hotbed of the Longhorn state, Brown always had top-level talent, and even that couldn’t save him at the end.

His recruiting misses are the stuff of legend now as he infamously recruited Heisman Trophy-winning QB’s Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel to play safety in Austin, while being unable to find a suitable replacement for life after Colt McCoy in 2009.

Mack’s National Championship ring sparkles in the eyes of the Chapel Hill faithful, but current recruits hadn’t even started kindergarten the last time he ascended the college football mountain. I can’t imagine he is a name that is going to resonate enough with recruits to bring in the high-level talent it is going to take to win at the level that is going to be expected at North Carolina now.

Heralded as a sleeping giant in college football for many years, the Tar Heels have long held delusions of grandeur in thinking their program is more than what it is. This hiring brings to fruition the worst of those delusions.

North Carolina will forever be a basketball school, and that’s not to say you can’t win in football there because you can, but I also don’t see them ever taking a place among the sport’s blue-blood programs.

Retread hires are becoming more and more popular in college football as evident by the Mad Hatter’s return to the sidelines in Lawrence, and now Brown’s resurrection in Chapel Hill. Lou Holtz is probably on the phone with his agent testing the waters as I type this.

There were far more suitable candidates for this job, and in the very least Bubba Cunningham should have done his due diligence in vetting other potential candidates instead of moving so quickly on putting ink to paper. There wasn’t competition for Brown’s services, so rushing to sign him to a deal makes very little sense.

This move has disaster written all over it, and it’s the type of move that will not only almost certainly end unceremoniously for Mack Brown, but is likely to get an Athletic Director fired as well if it goes wrong.

Next. 5 best candidates for UNC job. dark

Cunningham thinks he hit a home run with bringing Brown back to Carolina, but the ball was in the catcher’s mitt before he even swung the bat.