Mack Brown

Head Coach of the Texas Longhorns, 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year

Notes from the John Maxwell Interview of Mack Brown

1. Armed Services of United States of America

Description of his recent visit to Middle East to visit military.

  • Player asked him to go to visit troops
  • Saw troops in Germany in hospital, many had lost arms, lost legs etc
  • Have to wear armor to visit
  • Not more dangerous than driving in Austin
  • On front lines, people die here everyday
  • Leadership is strong in armed forces
  • Teach leadership everyday
  • That is why we have academies
  • My job is to do what I am told
  • When our guys leave they may not come back, real stuff
  • Always thank troops for what they do!
  • Our troops are our true heroes
  • They sacrifice everyday for our freedoms
  • Let’s take care of their spouses and families here at home

2. Recruiting:

We all are either recruiting or being recruited.

You are a great recruiter, how do you do that?

  • I have coached lots good players. It is always easier to coach and win with good players, having good players makes me a good coach.

First they must have talent-we call it a 5 play guy, when watching film on the guy, if you can’t tell he is a great in 5 plays then he is not our guy.

You have to have great players to have great teams.

Secondly, the must have good character. We require a 3.0 GPA or above, to me if they are able to do this in high school they have displayed a good level of discipline to do enough of the right things and make enough good decisions over a period of time that it is much more likely they are a good kid and will fit into our program.

Thirdly, they must have played on a winning team, winning breads winning, if they have been winners, they will be more hunger and want to win a championship for us. If they have not been in that environment they are less likely to have the same hunger and will likely settle for less than winning as OK.

  • Our success is because we have recruited highly successful people to be on our teams, if you have been successful in the past you more likely to continue this pattern with us.

Fourth, I look to see if they have played for good, tough, demanding high school coaches. Have they been taught well, been in good system prior to coming to us. This increases the likelihood that they will be successful with our team.

Fifth, they need to have been good in school, a good student beyond academics, involved in the community etc.

  • I only get to pick 20 young men each year and we turn down 350 others in the state and that make lots of moms mad, but we must be very selective and pick on the best of the best in order to be successful.
  • If you get only 20 picks per year, each one must be good, each must be some of the best or you will fail, you will lose and not be employed any more.

 3. Purpose

What is your purpose for coaching?

  • You have to win or you can’t continue to do what you do. This is true no matter what it is that you do.
  • We must be financially successful, football pulled $93 million last year-spent $25 million to run program, so football supports most of the other sports programs at the university,
  • We gave $5 million back to school, able to give back and support school and other activities at the university. This is apart of our greater purpose and part of how we contribute to the larger success of university as a whole.
  • My long-term purpose is to try to recruit good young men, to give them an opportunity to have good experience while they are with us, to have some fun, learn how to win. The most important part of this job is that we prepare them for life. We don’t want their best days to be while they are with us. We want their best days to be ahead of them after they leave us. That can only happen if we do a good job of preparing them while they are with us.

Story about National Championship Game

Before Game Speech

  • Thank you for putting us in this position
  • Jerry Springer show-don’t ever go on this show, everyone laughed, I then told them to have fun during game, enjoy the experience!
  • Go out and do your best and fight hard.

After Game

  • Thank you for such a great performance, without you we could not have won the championship.
  • Be very careful as you leave here and celebrate this victory, all eyes are on you, don’t do something you will regret.
  • Finally and most importantly,

Dont let this be best moment of your life! 

  • This needs to be just the beginning of the rest of you life. Use this to get good job, as a stepping stone to the rest of you life.
  • Keep Growing and learning, got to move on and accomplish new and bigger things in the days ahead.
  • I don’t want to be talking to you when you are 30 or 40 and you look back and tell me that was the best days of your life, I would consider that as a failure because I did not prepare you for the life ahead.

 4. Handling Failure

Last year was not your best year, for lots of us participating in this event the last year was not our best year either with economy, job loses, financial set backs etc, how do you handle failure, how do you deal with setbacks?

  • Accept Responsibility: Acknowledge the failure and your part in it, own it, deal with the facts so you can turn things around.
  • Stop Complaining: if you don’t like where you’re working, either quit griping or quit.
  • Reinvent Yourself: You better get up and reinvent yourself everyday or you will lose your edge. If you are on top the competition is coming after you so you better be getting better and better each day or you will get passed up along the way.

I did not handle it very well, I am 60, and I don’t like losing. I don’t like having a season like that.

What I did learn last season?

  • It had gotten easy for us. We had got used to winning 10+ games and thought we just had to so up and that would happen again. Well it didn’t.
  • We hadn’t prepared the same.
  • We hadn’t worked as hard.
  • We didn’t have the same intensity as we had to get us to that point of winning 10 games each year.
  • We had lost our edge.

When it gets easy, you are about to be in trouble!

  • Began to think we would win just because of Texas on our shirt.
  • You better get up and reinvent yourself over and over.
  • You need to create an edge every day.
  • We lost who we were.
  • We were not working hard with the same edge.

Your worst day can ultimately be your most positive result!

It can cause you to go back and reflect on what happened.

It can cause you to refocus your efforts and begin to work to become better than you have ever been.

You must replace the complacent attitude with a new reinvented attitude with hunger and hard work to achieve new results.

What to do when you face failure?

  1. Take Responsibility
  2. Make changes
  3. Energy to Reinvent Yourself
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