12 Quotes From Leadership In Distress – Texas Longhorn Mack Brown

University of Texas Longhorn head coach Mack Brown has had 14 consecutive years of nine wins or more.  That streak has ended as the Longhorns have lost six of their last seven games.  Texas is in a free fall.

There have been times I’ve felt my team was free-falling.  For leaders, I don’t think this is a question of if, but when that will happen.  Leadership consists of seasons and life cycles that are sometimes more challenging than others.

Coach Brown was recently interviewed by ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi for a College Gameday segment.  His comments give us a fascinating look into the mind of a leader in distress.

  1. “What went wrong?” asks Rinaldi.  “How long you got?” responds Brown.  Leaders in distress must look for the positive because you will feel like everything is going wrong.
  2. “You can’t trust your players.  You can’t trust your coaches.” – after a loss to Iowa State.  Distressed leaders do not trust others.
  3. “I don’t think we gave the opponent respect…I think that is the worst thing that can happen to a coach.”  Distressed leaders feel the issue is about them. 
  4. It’s my responsibility.  But I can’t trust you unless you help me.”  Distressed leaders blame others.
  5. Regarding his staff – “If one guy is playing bad I can replace him.  If three guys are playing bad I’ve got to replace you.”  Distressed leaders publicly embarrass others.
  6. Who needs to be replaced?  “We’ll look at that at the end of the year.”  Distressed leaders force others to work in fear.
  7. “You continually look at what you need to do to make people accountable.”
  8. “People want to hang somebody.  They want somebody fired.  They want somebody put out on the street without clothes so we can embarrass and be rude to them.  No one person except for me is responsible for all of this.”  Distressed leaders over-exaggerate.
  9. Mack Brown may have lost his team which is worse than losing games.” – Lee Corso
  10. “With all due respect to Coach Corso, he hasn’t seen us practice in the 13 years I’ve been here.”  Distressed leaders are defensive.
  11. I’m the only one who can figure out the answers.”  Distressed leaders do not utilize their teammates.
  12. “What an awful message if I lay around and pout.  If I feel sorry for myself…if I can’t stand up and be credible…all I can do is the best I can do and keep fighting.”  Distressed leaders regain momentum by not quitting and looking for ways to improve and get better.

The segment concludes with Kirk Herbstreit saying “They’re not having fun.  They don’t have the leadership.”  I like Coach Brown and think he is a great coach.  I’m hoping the Longhorns start having fun again.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.


  1. The Relationship Between Success And Failure « Brian Dodd On Leadership - 11/25/2010

    […] last two posts I wrote were about top leaders in their field, head football coach Mack Brown of Texas and Senior Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church.  To read those posts, […]

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