Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mack Brown Turns Up the Heat on Rick Barnes

Deloss Dodds has more than 30 years as athletic director at the University of Texas.  During his tenure, sports teams under the UT umbrella have won more than 100 conference championships.

Athletic achievements by different sports teams are excellent ways to boost the spirit of a university, but everybody knows that men's football and basketball anchor the athletic programs and are the signature reputation of whether a school is seen as a winner or not.

Right now, UT (Texas) is in some dire straits.  Neither of the two marquee sports are leading by example. Mack Brown has led the football Longhorns out for two straight losses to start the 2013 season at 1-2, after a second disappointing result Saturday against Ole Miss.  The last game for the 2012-13 UT Men's Basketball season was a loss in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational, the third ranked post-season tournament after the NCAA and NIT.

These results are inexcusable for a premier state university, like UT.

This is obviously Brown's last season.  Everything has turned against him in terms of the team's performance. It is a weak team with the wrong kind of identity.  The team is viewed as not playing physical enough.  Even strong links from the past are turning against him.  Heisman winner Ricky Williams, not originally recruited by Brown, but played multiple seasons for him, has said he thinks it is time for change in Austin.

A freak injury to Colt McCoy in the 2010 BCS title game versus Alabama may have cost Brown a second national championship.  A win that night probably would have bought him a little more time with the public now during these lean years, but it didn't happen and the state and its alumni have too much pride to keep Brown.  Any great recruiting he did in the past to land players like Vince Young has not been working lately and this is a 'what have you done lately' business.

All of the UT football problems bring a brighter spotlight onto the men's basketball team.  Rick Barnes' rope that he is hanging onto is razor thin.  He's done less in his time than Brown.  Both started their Longhorn coaching careers the same year, 1998.

Barnes had one Final Four appearance way back in 2002-03 and was able to land Kevin Durant for a minute. Otherwise, Barnes has had a mostly average coaching stint.  A couple of Elite Eights and Sweet Sixteens have been mixed with several first and second round occasions.

Last season's UT men's basketball finale was pitiful. Barnes should have been let go then.

Dodds has stayed with the status quo and now it appears he may part ways with the school, as well.  At least, that's the rumor mill.  It could be a clean sheet all the way around in 2014 for UT:  athletic director, football coach and men's basketball coach.

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