Mack Brown knew this day would arrive. He had seen this movie before, seen it with men he admired in the leading role.
Eight years ago this week, over breakfast at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, he talked about how he had decided to take the pressure off himself. It had been a remarkable season. Texas had pounded its nemesis, Oklahoma, 45-12. The Longhorns had gone undefeated and risen to No. 2 in the nation. Four weeks hence, Brown would raise the crystal football above his head on the floor of the Rose Bowl, confetti dancing and swirling on a crisp California night.
But on that December morning, before Texas knocked off USC and ended the Trojans' 34-game winning streak on a night that would be the pinnacle of a remarkable career, Brown talked about how it would end. "Very few coaches," Brown said, "get to decide where they want to finish. And that's a real pressure point for a coach in his 50s and 60s, when he doesn't have a place to stop."
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