Mack Brown is back on the sideline after occupying a chushy media gig for the past five years. Some may wonder why the Hall of Fame coach would trade the comforts of the studio for the responsibility of resuscitating the UNC football program. According to Brown, he never fully shut the door on returning to coaching and the perfect opportunity, along with permission from his wife Sally, led him back to Chapel Hill.
“Every year, as much as I love TV, we would interview at some job. None of them seemed to fit, whether they didn’t want us, we didn’t want to live there, whatever. “
“I actually asked Sally a year ago – a prominent job I was interested in called and asked if I would talk to them. I asked my wife, Would you go here? She said, No, I’m not going to go there. I don’t want to live there, you don’t fit there. That’s stupid. We are not doing that.”
“I’ll let you coach in Hawaii, I’ll let you coach in The Bahamas. I said, They don’t even have football. She said, Well, we’ll start a team called the Bahamas Iguanas. Or I’ll let you coach in Chapel Hill.”
So, when UNC Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham reached out to Brown about the head football coach opening, it was the perfect opportunity he was looking for.
“Bubba called at the end of the year. It had been a year after the Hall of Fame where we talked to a lot of different players that played for us. They all talked about how much we meant in their lives. They’re talking to their children about things we talked to them about.
“Walking out of the building at North Carolina in August of last year, Sally said, There’s two things I learned tonight. Number one, you better not tell a kid something as a coach unless you mean it because he’s going to remember it. Number two, there’s a void in your life and you love mentoring young people, and you can’t do that right now with TV.”
So with the motivation to complete the unfinished business that remained when he left in 1997, Brown returns to Chapel Hill to make things even better than they were when he left.
“When we left we were fourth in the country I think. We had just won 10, then won 11. We were recruiting as well as anybody in the country. We were getting most of the guys we wanted out of the state of North Carolina, some out of Virginia, some out of South Carolina and Georgia. We were really on a roll. We want to come back and get it back like it was. But even better. We’d love nothing more than to win a national championship here.”