As a college football historian, I’m going to miss Mack Brown. More notably, I’m going to miss the Bob Stoops/Mack Brown rivalry.
I’ve written about it many times. Stoops vs. Mack was one of the best coaching duels in college football history. Now it’s over, at 15 straight years.
I was hoping Stoops and Mack could last another five years and set the record. Darrell Royal and Frank Broyles went at each other 19 straight, Royal at Texas, Broyles at Arkansas, 1958-76.
But it’s not to be. Mack resigned Saturday night and will take a 6-9 record against Stoops with him. Mack arrived at Texas a year before Stoops came to OU, so Mack’s record against the Sooners is 7-9.
Stoops was not overly sentimental Monday when asked about Brown. He also wasn’t dismissive.
“They’ll be someone else there that you’ve got to compete against,” Stoops said. But “you’ve got to credit Mack for the consistent success for such along time. I’ve got great respect for the way he’s run his program. Always a first-class program.”
Stoops said he didn’t know how to characterize their relationship. “Mack and I have always had a very mutual, respectful relationship,” Stoops said. “You appreciate and respect it, because you know the challenges of it. Always felt that way about Mack. We don’t have occasion to get together much. We’ve always been very cordial, friendly, because we do respect what each of us have to do.”
Of course, Stoops hastened Mack’s departure with four blowout victories over the years: 63-14 in 2000, 65-13 in 2003, 55-17 in 2011 and 63-21 in 2012. Mack stemmed the idea of his ouster with a 36-20 victory this October, but in the end, the Longhorns’ slip into mediocrity was too mighty.
“Certain days you get hot, you play well,” Stoops said, offering no other explanation for OU’s domination.
Sooners Gabe Ikard and Aaron Colvin were complimentary of Mack.
“I have a lot of respect for Mack Brown,” said Colvin, a senior cornerback. “I had a chance to exchange some words at halftime and after the game. Always seemed like a positive guy. He took a lot of criticism. But his team always had found ways to win. They beat us this year. I have a lot of respect for that guy. The respect he’s given me. He told me a lot of positive things he’s expecting from me. I really respect that.”
Said Ikard, “Great coach. Put one of the premier programs together.”
Ikard said he shared an elevator with Brown last week in New York, during the various awards functions. “He was very complimentary, very classy to me. Always a guy, isn’t scared to tell you how he feels. Tell you you’re a good player.
“It’s a shame he’s gotta end his career like that, but I thought his statement about returning, getting Texas back to the premier program, that was some powerful and honest stuff. Takes a lot of integrity and courage to be able to say something like that. What he’s done for that program can’t be overstated. Interested to see who they hire. But Mack Brown’s a classy dude. Wish him the best.”
So here is the list of the 10 longest-running annual coaching rivalries:
19 years: Darrell Royal, Texas, vs. Frank Broyles, Arkansas, 1958-76. Royal led 15-4.
18: Bear Bryant, Alabama, vs. Shug Jordan, Auburn, 1958-75. Bryant led 13-5.
16: Rip Engle, Penn State, vs. Ben Schwartzwalder, Syracuse. Schwartzwalder led 9-7.
16: Barry Switzer, Oklahoma, vs. Tom Osborne, Nebraska, 1973-88. Switzer led 12-5.
16: Bear Bryant, Alabama, vs. Charley McClendon, LSU, 1964-79. Bryant led 14-2.
16: Wally Butts, Georgia, vs. Bobby Dodd, Georgia Tech, 1945-60. Dodd led 9-7.
16: Don James, Washington, vs. Rich Brooks, Oregon, 1977-92. James led 13-3.
15: Fisher DeBerry, Air Force, vs. Lavell Edwards, Brigham Young, 1984-2000. Edwards led 12-3.
15: Bob Stoops, Oklahoma, vs. Mack Brown, Texas, 1999-2013. Stoops led 9-6.