Mack Brown presented with 2008 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award
March 3, 2009
Natalie England, TexasSports.com
AUSTIN, Texas -- The script all but wrote itself Tuesday night, when Texas football coach Mack Brown was presented with the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award during a banquet at the Erwin Center.
The award is given annually to a coach whose team enjoys success on the field, while also demonstrating class and character in life. It's an award that underscores sportsmanship, leadership and integrity -- words that have become synonymous with Brown during his tenure with the Longhorns.
Brown's eight bowl victories -- including a school record five in a row -- are tied with legendary Darrell Royal for the most in UT history, and Brown has accomplished that while graduating nearly 85 percent of his seniors over the past four years, including 26 of 29 seniors from the 2005 National Championship team.
"When you talk about the whole package -- success on the field, recruiting and graduating great players, creating a family atmosphere and running your entire program with class -- there's nobody working today better than Mack Brown," said noted college football journalist Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "He is the personification of this award."
Brown has posted a 17-3 mark in his last 20 games against Top 25 opponents, and he is 3-0 in BCS games. That includes the Longhorns' stirring comeback victory in this year's Fiesta Bowl, when UT marched 78 yards in the game's final two minutes to clinch the 24-21 win against Ohio State.
The final drive is the perfect symbol for a season defined by chemistry and class.
"It's why I'm here tonight. I'm excited and humbled to accept this award in honor of our football team," Brown said. "They liked each other, and they liked playing. They liked the competition. And that's why they were so much fun to coach. I'm not sure I've ever had more fun coaching than last year."
It's seems fitting that on a night designed to honor him, Brown found a way to honor his players -- after all, he has designed his program around the essence of family. But Brown's embrace extends beyond the UT circle and far into the community.
Roy Miller, a senior defensive tackle on last year's team, recalled bringing a group of young boys from the east side of Austin to campus. Miller wanted to show them the stadium and football facilities, and when Brown encountered the group, he became totally immersed in their stories.
"He embraced all of them," Miller said. "Whatever they wanted, he gave them."
That's the side of Brown his players have come to know and love.
"He's a guy who we respect and who earns his respect by doing the right things," said former UT linebacker Derrick Johnson. "He teaches morals and leadership, and he teaches that all the time. He inspires everybody, and he just wants the best for everybody. He means well in everything he does."
The Dodd Award was established in 1976 to honor a college coach whose program represents quality on and off the field. The award certificate that is presented to the winner states, "In recognition of a higher and more noble aspect of college coaching ... a style that emphasizes something more than winning the game ... a belief that the game of football should be kept in perspective with college life in general."
Bill Curry, who played for Dodd at Georgia Tech and is now the president of the award's foundation, said that Brown is the first coach he can remember to be a unanimous recipient.
"There was only one choice," Curry said.