You could almost see the teams, the cheerleaders and hear in the faraway distance, the high school bands as Mack Brown answered the question. He left absolutely no doubt where he stood on the subject of college teams playing on Friday nights for television.
"I think it's horrible," Brown said. "I was raised in a high school football family. My grand dad was the winningest coach in middle Tennessee history and my dad was a coach. They both went on to serve as principals and superintendents of schools. Friday night belongs to high school football and I think it is wrong for colleges to schedule any games then. The best example I can think of is, how would we feel if the NFL started scheduling its games on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night?"
Brown's strong stance came after Conference USA announced it would play Friday night games under a new television contract.
"I think it is wrong and I hope it is reconsidered next year," Brown said as he addressed the media covering the Texas High School Coaches Association annual convention in Fort Worth.
The press conference was the final event for Brown in a whirlwind visit to what is widely known as "coaching school." More than 10,000 high school coaches attended the annual event, and by the time it was over, Brown had spoken to as many of those in attendance as he could. The Texas Longhorns coaching staff arrived in Fort Worth on Sunday and worked two visits with Longhorns faithful around the convention. On Sunday, Brown and his coaches, including Assistant Athletics Director for Strength & Conditioning Jeff Madden and Associate Athletics Director Cleve Bryant, had dinner with Longhorn football lettermen from the Metroplex. On Monday night, Brown was in fine form as he addressed more than 650 Longhorn Foundation members at Joe T. Garcia's - a popular Fort Worth restaurant.
The Monday night confab was enthusiastic and tremendously supportive. A crowd of 300 greeted Brown in Fort Worth at a similar function two years ago and 400 were in attendance this year. Crowded though it was, the folks at the popular Fort Worth restaurant kept pumping out the food to feed the masses.
Coaching school, which is the largest of its kind in the country, provides a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with all of the high school coaches in the state and Brown and his staff take full advantage of it. Extremely popular with the high school coaches, Brown uses the tie from his roots to form a bond of respect with the coaches. It gives him a chance to say "thank you" to the coaches who tutor the young men Texas recruits and he also has a chance to hug some of his former players now coaching in the high school ranks, such as Tony Holmes and Russell Gaskamp.
While the opportunity to visit with the high school coaches is important, Brown and his staff also use the time to take in some of the panels as well.
"I always pick up something that's helpful," said Brown, who is a popular speaker at coaching clinics. "You can learn so much from successful high school coaches. In college, we get a chance to recruit our players. These guys win with the deck that's dealt them when it comes to athletes. I have the utmost respect for them."
Brown told the media covering the event that he encourages his incoming freshmen to participate in all-star games, but leaves that decision to the player, his parents and his high school coach.
"Of all the all-star games, the Coaches' Game is the most important to us, because of the guys it represents," he said. "We believe it is an honor for a kid to represent his team in the game, but at the same time, it's strictly their decision. We really can't have much input with them until they report to us. We can encourage, but it is up to them."
As far as fearing injury in such games, Brown made it clear that was not an issue.
"O.J. McClintock hurt his arm walking down the street," he said. "We've never felt that an all-star game, if it is properly run like the Coaches' Association is, has any more danger of injury than anything else they do."
NCAA rules prevent coaches from watching the practices or attending the all-star games in both football and basketball.
"We'll go home and watch it on TV," said Brown.
The Longhorns will have six future players in the game, including lineman Will Allen of Houston Cypress Falls, defensive back Kendal Briles of Wolfforth Frenship, lineman Mike Garcia Houston Galena Park, defensive back Michael Huff of Irving Nimitz, defensive back Aaron Ross of Tyler and lineman William Winston of Houston Madison.
After the press conference Tuesday morning, Brown and his staff returned to Austin for a quick afternoon at the office. On Wednesday, they'll leave for three solid days of work at a staff retreat, during which time they'll finalize the plans for the upcoming 2001 season.