"This is a very difficult day for everyone in the University of Texas family," Texas President Bill Powers said. "Mack Brown is one of the best football coaches in the country."
The school scheduled a news conference Sunday for Brown, and to discuss a search for his replacement to take over after the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Brown was under contract with Texas until 2020 with a salary of more than $5 million per year. Brown also had a buyout of $2.75 million this year, but terms of any severance deal were not immediately released Saturday night.
Brown' only losing season at Texas was in 2010, when the Longhorns fell to 5-7 after playing for the 2009 season national championship. But Brown's inability to win more Big 12 championships — Oklahoma won or shared eight league titles from 2000-2012 — and four straight years of at least four losses fractured the fan base and prompted calls for his departure.
Texas expected a return to national prominence in 2013 behind a team that returned 19 starters. Even Brown talked up his chances to compete for a national championship again.
But Texas started 1-2 to rekindle dissatisfaction that would fester all season, particularly after revelations that in January, several members of the school's board of regents and a prominent donor were involved in efforts to lure Alabama coach Nick Saban to the Longhorns.
The possibility that Texas could hire Saban to take over for Brown ended Friday night when Alabama announced it had agreed to a contract extension with its coach. Texas' announcement that Brown would retire came less than 24 hours later.
Brown was considered the perfect fit at Texas when the Longhorns hired him away from North Carolina in 1997 to replace the divisive John Mackovic. The affable Brown immediately won over Longhorns fans at his introductory news conference when he flashed the traditional "Hook'em Horns" sign and urged fans to "come early, be loud and stay late."