In the shadow of the football stadium, where Mack Brown learned his trade from the likes of assistant coaches such as Bill Parcells, his friend and fellow Longhorn coach Augie Garrido was defining the unique trait that seems to set apart all Texas coaches from many of their peers in college athletics.
Television cameras have captured some head coaches berating players after a mistake, and too often, discipline is equated to yelling and screaming. So as Garrido began a best-of-three series that finds him only one win away from joining Cliff Gustafson as the winningest coach in the history of his sport, he reflected about the changes in coaching over his 30-plus seasons as a head coach.
Garrido, who has won NCAA National Championships in each of the last four decades (1979, 1984, 1995, 2002), offered a refreshing theory, and one which fits exactly with the style of the Texas football staff under Mack Brown.
Throughout the last couple of years, Longhorn faithful have many times reflected on the great relationships between the head coaches at Texas, and the "family" atmosphere has received a great deal of credit for the success of the overall program at UT.
Brown, in fact, took time from his busy camp schedule to see the Longhorns off as they boarded the bus to the airport on Thursday, and he's called several times to wish the team well as they waited for the rain to stop in the hometown of his alma mater, Florida State.
As Garrido concluded his press conference on Friday, a Tallahassee reporter asked him to talk about the changes he had seen in the game, and the players. And when a guy is about to win more games in his sport than anyone in the history of the world, it behooves folks to listen.
"I do like in the players something some coaches don't like very much," Garrido said. "I think players are coming into the universities with a much healthier personality. I hear coaches criticize players because 'they are soft and don't respond -- it's not like the good ole days.' Well, it isn't like the good old days. The good old days are just old days. They seem good because they aren't around anymore.
"In reality, I think they are healthier. Parents are doing a much better job of nurturing and loving the players as they raise them. What the players don't do, is they don't respond to harsh criticism or they don't have the tools to overcome disapproval by the adults involved. They don't know how to fight back on those terms because that's been eliminated by a healthier environment in the home.
"So what we have to do is to deal differently. The coaches are, in fact, in a support role, while the team is driving and leading itself and being responsible for the performances."
Garrido articulated what Brown's football staff has personified. They have tremendous respect for the parents of their players, and include them as a part of the Longhorn family. Building a relationship with the family is an important, and meaningful, part of the recruiting process. But once on campus, it is the responsibility of the coach to provide a healthy environment in which the players can live, grow and learn.
Coaches are teachers.
One of my grandsons is greatly bothered by loud noises. He covers his ears when the cannon fires at the football games, and can't stand it when the music is too loud in the basketball arena. If you scream at him, he will not hear you. All he will hear is the noise. It is the difference in talking "to" someone, and talking "with" someone, and it is the difference in redirecting behavior in a positive manner and grabbing a player and shaking him on the sidelines.
It is the philosophy of the Texas staff to create a relationship with the players that is built on faith, trust and a belief that inside each individual is the ability to stand in their own power in order to succeed.
It is about team, and it is about nurturing, rather than whipping.
It reflects the ability to change with the times, and the commitment to the philosophy that, as the sign in Brown's office says, basically a coach will not be measured by what he knows, but by what his players have learned.