SI Vault
 
T for Texas, and for Tradition
Tim Layden
January 07, 2006
For Mack Brown, the secret ingredient to bringing back the glory days was Darrell Royal
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
January 07, 2006

T For Texas, And For Tradition

For Mack Brown, the secret ingredient to bringing back the glory days was Darrell Royal

View CoverRead All Articles
1 2

You cannot be devastated after every loss and relieved after every win, because that's no way to go through life.

The new coach was instantly smitten with the old one. Brown's press conferences were full of sentences that began with " Coach Royal says ..." and eventually the media began writing, " Mack Brown doesn't actually say anything, Coach Royal says it all." Brown was vaguely offended, but it didn't bother Royal all that much.

One day he said to Brown, "You need players who have it." Brown loves Royal's witticisms and homespun advice, but this was a little much. What did Royal mean?

"You'll see," Royal said.

On a mid-November afternoon in this championship season, Brown sat eating lunch with his wife, Sally, in the University of Texas Club, high above the football field at, appropriately, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. "Now I understand," said Brown. "You don't recognize it until it's right in front of you. Vince Young has it. Jamaal Charles has it. That's what Coach Royal was talking about."

On almost every afternoon during football season you can stand on the hillside overlooking the Texas practice field and watch as an older man with a wobbly gait and a baseball cap steps from a car and makes his way to the picnic tables next to an equipment shack. From the sideline Brown will look over and see the old coach and wordlessly connect.

It was a big job, restoring glory to this football program and giving its adoring fans reason to proudly wear burnt orange again. Mack Brown needed help, and when his job had barely begun, he asked for it. What he got was much more--a friend, a mentor and a partner to help him find the way to the soul of Texas football.

1 2