Longhorn defensive coordinator resigns
AUSTIN, Texas -- After six seasons in which he guided a dramatic turnaround for the Longhorns defense, University of Texas defensive coordinator Carl Reese announced his resignation on Tuesday. Reese's resignation will be effective June 1, 2004, but a search for his replacement will begin immediately.
"I can't thank everyone at The University of Texas and Coach Brown enough," Reese said. "In 37 years of coaching this is the best job I've ever had. Everything and everyone involved in the program is first class and the best at what they do. It's been a great six years filled with a bunch of wonderful memories.
"After the season ended and I had some time to look back, I just felt it was in everyone's best interest for me to move on. I've been doing this for a long time and I thought that it was time for a change. I think it will be good for Mack to get some fresh blood in here with some new ideas who can help them take it to the next level."
The Longhorns posted a school-best sixth straight nine (or more) win season with a 10-3 record and ranked 12th nationally in 2003. UT finished the year ranked 25th nationally in total defense (329.8 ypg), ninth in passing defense (177.3 ypg) and allowed 21.5 points per game (32nd NCAA).
"I'm not sure what I'll do, but after working with such a great group of people and at as classy of a place as Texas, I'll be very selective in evaluating any opportunities that come my way. This is a tough situation to beat. If I don't find the right deal for me, I'll just take some time and head back to Missouri and do some fishing."
Reese inherited a defense that ranked 104th nationally in rushing (241.5 ypg) and 85th nationally in total defense (399.2 ypg) in 1997 and turned it into a unit that produced five straight top 25 total defense finishes. Texas' NCAA-leading 236.2 yards per game allowed in 2001 was the Horns' lowest since 1983 (212.0 ypg). UT ranked sixth nationally in total defense in 1999 (286.7 ypg), seventh in 2000 (278.3 ypg) and 16th in 2002 (307.7 ypg).
"When we came here Carl was one of the first coaches we identified that could help us turn this thing around," head coach Mack Brown said. "He did just that in taking a struggling defense and building it into a unit that led the nation in total defense in 2001. We hate to see him leave, but Carl's a great coach and an even better person and I respect his decision. I can't thank him enough for everything he's done for our program the past six years. He certainly has left our defense in much better shape than it was when we came. If Carl decides to continue in coaching, whoever gets him will be really lucky."
Texas' defense under Reese featured eight All-Americans, eight first-team All-Big 12 selections, a Butkus Award finalist (Derrick Johnson/2003), Lombardi Award finalist (Cory Redding/2002) and Thorpe Award finalist (Quentin Jammer/2001). In six seasons under his guidance, the Horns' defense produced 246 sacks, 746 tackles for loss and forced 184 turnovers. That was a marked improvement from the six years prior to his arrival when Texas managed just 163 sacks, 523 TFLs and forced 133 turnovers.
A 1966 graduate of Missouri, Reese was a tri-captain and fullback on the Tigers' 1966 Sugar Bowl Championship team. He was a three-year starter, led the Tigers in rushing in 1963 and earned Academic All-Big 12 honors as a senior.
Prior to joining the UT staff in 1998, Reese served as defensive coordinator at LSU (1995-97), Vanderbilt (1991-94), Navy (1989-90), Missouri (1986-88/1977-81), Virginia (1974), East Carolina (1970-73) and with the Birmingham Stallions of USFL (1982-85). He has been a defensive coordinator for 31 of his 37 years as an assistant coach.
Brown, who is out of town at the American Football Coaches Association of America, said he would begin a search for a defensive coordinator, but that he anticipated no other staff changes.