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Former North Carolina coach Mack Brown to be tapped to lead UNC football team again

Take a look back at Mack Brown’s time at UNC and his move to Texas

Check out photos from Mack Brown's tenure as coach at UNC and his move to Texas. (No Audio)
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Check out photos from Mack Brown's tenure as coach at UNC and his move to Texas. (No Audio)

North Carolina has hired Mack Brown to lead its football program.

Again.

Brown will be announced as UNC’s new football coach as early as Tuesday, said a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

Efforts to reach Brown, his agent and UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham were unsuccessful Monday morning.

Brown, 67, coached 10 seasons at UNC from 1988 to 1997. During that span, he amassed a 69-46-1 record. And from 1992, until his final year there in 1997, Brown helped lead the Tar Heels to five consecutive bowl games. In his final year, the Tar Heels climbed to as high as No. 4 in the AP Top 25 poll, and finished No. 6 overall.

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UNC football coach Mack Brown speaks to players during a 1988 practice. Roger Winstead News & Observer file photo

Brown is revered among UNC fans, and is often credited with helping to change the perception of its football program — that held that football did not matter to the school. In his first two seasons at UNC, his team finished 1-10. In his final season, his team finished 10-1.

He left UNC after the 1997 regular season for Texas, where he won a national championship in 2005 and finished undefeated.

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Mack Brown ponders the answer to a question as he announced his resignation as coach of the UNC football team in 1997. At left is former UNC athletic director Dick Baddour. CHUCK LIDDY cliddy@newsobserver.com

In 2009, Brown helped lead Texas to a 13-1 record. Texas’ only loss that year came in the BCS National Championship game to Alabama. However, in the four seasons after his last national championship appearance, Brown finished with a 30-21 record.

He resigned after the 2013 season, which was also the last time he has been a head coach of a college football team. Brown is currently a college football commentator for ESPN.

In January 2018, Brown was chosen for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Brown has also been a head coach at Tulane and Appalachian State. He is 244-122-1 in his career as a head coach and 13-7 in bowl games.

Brown, who will be 68 when the new season starts, replaces former UNC coach Larry Fedora. Fedora was fired on Sunday after seven seasons as head coach. Fedora took over the program while it was being investigated by the NCAA in 2012. The school eventually received a post-season ban and a reduction in scholarships for its violations, but Fedora led the program to four winning seasons.

His last two seasons had been his worst, though. Fedora’s teams finished 3-9 in 2017, and 2-9 in 2018 before he was fired. This past season, UNC lost seven games by 10 points or less. While his teams did not give up, it was not enough to keep his job.

Fedora had a 45-43 overall record, and was 28-28 in ACC play with UNC.

The university is on the hook for Fedora’s salary until January 2023. It will owe him about $3 million each year for the next four years. The money will be paid for by the university’s Department of Athletics.

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UNC football coach Larry Fedora (left) greets former UNC and Texas football coach Mack Brown prior to the Tar Heels’ basketball game against Florida State on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Brown coached at North Carolina from 1988-1997. Robert Willett rwillett@newsobserver.com

The details of Brown’s contract were not immediately available. At Texas, he was paid an annual salary of roughly $5 million, which, according to the Austin American-Statesman, was criticized by faculty at the school in 2012.

Alexander, 919-829-4822; @jonmalexander

This is a developing story. Check back for details.

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