It appears the Nick Saban-to-Texas connection is officially over: WWL is reporting that Saban has signed a multi-year contract to remain the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team. It sounds like Saban pulled a Jim Mora, leveraging the interest from Austin into a contract extension as well as a raise for himself and more cash to spend on high-end assistant coaches.
The question now becomes whether or not Texas is going to stand pat with Mack Brown, who has been decidedly mediocre ever since Vince Young won him a national title at Southern Cal's expense in the Rose Bowl, or go in a different direction. That picture remains murky at best. After all, it's hard to feel confident in a head coach that got spanked on his own home field by a team led by Rick Neuheisel and Kevin Prince. Only a few days ago, Texas' new athletic director Steve Patterson (formerly the AD at Arizona State) was quoted as saying "no decisions" have been made on Mack Brown, which isn't exactly a ringing endorsement:
Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson says no decision has been made about the future of Longhorns coach Mack Brown.
Texas released a statement by Patterson several hours after Orangebloods.com reported, citing two unidentified sources, that Brown will announce he is stepping down by week's end.
"We continue to discuss the future of Texas Football," Patterson said. "Mack Brown has not resigned. And, no decisions have been made."
But, it seems with Saban out of the picture, Brown will be sticking around for the short-term at the minimum:
Going against the narrative, at least for now, Patterson expressed some excitement in getting a chance to work with football head coach Mack Brown.
This could mean any number of things for the Texas football program: everything could remain status quo with Brown remaining as the head coach, or Brown could pull a Bellotti move and move into the administrative side of the game, or Patterson is keeping the national title winning coach around for now until his last football hire, Arizona State's Todd Graham, has a few more seasons under his belt in a power conference to make the transition. This last scenario seems most probable with Brown enjoying support among influential, high-rolling alumni like infamous attorney Joe Jamail.
Until Brown is gone and a new coach is in place, the speculation around Graham to Austin, with Brown as a caretaker, will continue that the Sun Devils' nomadic coach will once again pick up and head off to another gig, leaving behind another jilted team.