After a half-century in football, there isn’t much Mack Brown hasn’t done, including win a national championship.
But he’ll experience a first Saturday — working as the analyst for ESPN’s telecast of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous about it,” said Brown, who spent his first season out of coaching as a studio analyst. “After watching eight games every three hours, it’s going to be fun concentrating on just two teams and presenting their stories to the viewers.”
Brown will be working with play-by-play man Bob Wischusen and sideline reporter Kayleee Hartung, a Baton Rouge native who worked with Brown on the Longhorn Network during his time at Texas which ended a year ago.
“Kaylee’s going to be a star,” Brown said. “She started out on the political side, and she’s so smart.
“But she also loves the guys, and she’s a tremendous storyteller. It’s going to be fun walking with her again.”
Brown also will be returning to where he had his first bowl team — Tulane in 1987 when he took the Green Wave to the Independence Bowl before departing for North Carolina.
“That was a very difficult time for the university,” Brown said. “We’d just dropped basketball after the point-shaving scandal, and we’d been struggling on the field as well.
“There was talk that we would drop football, too. But we had a good year, and that created a tremendous amount of excitement around the program when we needed it.”
Bowls are easier to come by now than then, and to Brown, the opportunity for schools like Louisiana-Lafayette and Nevada to play in a bowl game is as meaningful to them as it was to Tulane nearly 30 years ago.
“Your first goal is to win your conference championship,” he said. “Then, it’s to go to a bowl game, and then it’s to win that bowl game.
“These are two-well coached teams that have worked hard to get to this point. It’s going to be a great experience for them.”
This will be Brown’s only one-off analyst gig of the season. He will work as a studio analyst for the Rose Bowl semifinal between Oregon and Florida State.
Brown added that while he enjoyed working with John Saunders and Danny Kanell in the ESPN studios and especially getting to see so much football from around the country, at age 63 he is not closing the door on a return to coaching.
“I miss certain elements of it,” said Brown, who still resides in New York City. “And if the right position came along, I’d have to consider it.
“It would have to be a place where you have a chance to win, and it would have to be a place where I felt they really needed me. But I’m not pursuing right now.”