Oklahomans should be thankful for Mack Brown

COMMENTARY: Even though he coached the hated Longhorns, what Brown did in Austin was a boon for the Sooners and Longhorns.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 10, 2013

Mack Brown is leaving Texas.

Or not.

Reports of Mack's resignation on Tuesday were met quickly with denials. His attorney denied that Mack had resigned. A longtime friend refuted it. One website reported that Mack himself denied it.

But Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com was first to report that Mack will resign after 16 years in Austin, and over the years we've seen that Chip knows Texas stuff before a lot of Texas people know Texas stuff.

So, I'm inclined to believe Mack is leaving.

Which begs the question — how should we feel about this news in Oklahoma?

No doubt some folks are sad to see Mack go. Texas football hit the skids in recent years, and the Sooners and the Cowboys have been beneficiaries. There have been blowouts in the Cotton Bowl for Oklahoma and victories in Austin for Oklahoma State.

Plenty of folks would like to see Mack stick around Bevo Land and watch the Longhorns slide further into irrelevance.

But that's misguided, shortsided thinking.

Texas being good is good for the Big 12.

And Mack made Texas good.

Sure, these past few seasons have been clunkers. But 16 years ago, Mack took over a giant that had slipped from slumber to comatose and immediately starting winning. The Horns won nine games each of his first three seasons. Then came a stretch of nine consecutive seasons with double-digit wins, including one national title and three other BCS bowls.

During that nine-year stretch, the Horns made life difficult for the Sooners and the Cowboys. OSU lost to Texas every year, and OU only won one more game in the Red River Rivalry than Texas did, 5 to 4.

But that Longhorn resurgence served notice to the rest of the conference — you're going to have to get better if you want to keep up.

And OU and OSU got better.

They renovated facilities. They upgraded coaching. They raised salaries. They improved talent.

They are better because Texas got better.

That, of course, isn't the only reason that those programs improved, but keeping up with your rival is a powerful motivator. Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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