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North Carolina makes it official and announces Mack Brown as the new football coach

Mack Brown speaks about his quick transition back to UNC football

At a press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, Mack Brown spoke to a large crowd about how excited he is to meet and get started with the UNC-Chapel Hill football team.
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At a press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, Mack Brown spoke to a large crowd about how excited he is to meet and get started with the UNC-Chapel Hill football team.

North Carolina has hired Mack Brown to lead its football program, the school announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The announcement came minutes after an emergency Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday morning. Brown’s total pay will be $3.5 million a year.

Brown, 67, returns to UNC after 21 years. He 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.

“Mack Brown has a proven record of building great teams, and he doesn’t just develop football players – he also develops people of strong character,” UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a press release. “He knows how to win championships, and he expects his student-athletes to win in the classroom and community, as well. We are excited about his plans for our football program, and I am thrilled to welcome Coach Brown and wife Sally back to Chapel Hill.”

Brown, who will be 68 when the 2019 season begins, 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. He also made it to the BCS National Championship in 2009 before losing to Alabama.

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

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

“I’m surprised he’s doing it,” former Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, who hired Brown in 1997, said. “He won a national championship here, and it’s hard to get better than that.”

“But North Carolina is very fortunate. He’ll turn it around no question.”

Brown has also been a head coach at Tulane (1985-1987) and Appalachian State (1983). He is 244-122-1 in his career as a head coach and 13-7 in bowl games.

“Sally and I love North Carolina, we love this University and we are thrilled to be back,’’ Brown said in a press release. “The best part of coaching is the players – building relationships, building confidence, and ultimately seeing them build success on and off the field. We can’t to wait to meet our current student-athletes and reconnect with friends, alumni and fellow Tar Heel coaches. We thank UNC’s Board of Trustees, Chancellor Folt and Bubba Cunningham for supporting our return to the Carolina family.”

The move to hire Brown was made swiftly.

UNC fired Larry Fedora on Sunday after seven seasons. Fedora amassed a 45-43 record. But this past season, UNC finished 2-9, and had struggled in recruiting.


Fedora’s buyout is a little more than $12 million. UNC will pay him about $3 million for the next four years. The money will be paid for by the Department of Athletics.


“This is a big day for Carolina,” UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a press release. “We are welcoming back a coach who built a winning football program during his first tenure in Chapel Hill – one that reflected the values, culture, and commitment to the excellence we aspire to in everything we do at this University. While chancellor, I have gotten to know Mack and have always admired his commitment to the success of student-athletes and passion for the college game. I’m looking forward to welcoming Mack and Sally back home to Carolina.”

UNC basketball coach Roy Williams talks about the departure of Larry Fedora and the return of Mack Brown to run the Tar Heels' football program during a press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.



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Jonathan M. Alexander has been covering the North Carolina Tar Heels since May 2018. He previously covered Duke basketball and recruiting in the ACC. He is an alumnus of N.C. Central University.

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