Mack Brown has been with ESPN since 2014. Prior to that, he spent sixteen seasons at Texas, compiling a 158-48 record and one memorable national championship. Before that, though, Brown led North Carolina for ten seasons, from 1988-1997, going 69-46-1. And Brown has said before he’d be interested in returning to the sidelines in the right situation.
With UNC firing Larry Fedora earlier today, there’s an opening at Mack’s old stomping grounds. And, perhaps surprisingly, there are already rumors that he’s not only interested in the position, but he may be the favorite to land the gig.
Here’s Austin American-Statesman writer Kirk Bohls, for example:
I also hear Mack Brown is very, very interested in North Carolina job. Could bring former Texas DC Gene Chizik with him and try to bring Kliff Kingsbury as his OC.
— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) November 25, 2018
Brown pitching a staff makes sense, though whether or not he could actually deliver on some big-name coordinators remains to be seen. Kingsbury, in particular, is likely not going to be short on options, especially if he’s willing to accept a coordinator role. But the specifics aren’t really important, at this point in the process; what’s important is that Brown is legitimately interested in leaving the broadcast booth and returning to the sidelines.
That interest, according to ESPN analyst Tom Luginbill, is reciprocal; Luginbill essentially said on ESPNU Radio today that it’s going to happen:
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) November 25, 2018
“It doesn’t matter what I want, I’m just telling you what’s going to happen: Mack Brown will be the head coach for his second tenure at North Carolina. Mark it down.”
If Brown does leave ESPN, we’ll at least always have the time he bailed on a game to catch a flight back to Bristol. If Brown does end up returning to coaching, hopefully it works out better than the last high-profile former coach to make the same transition.