Mack Brown resigned as Texas' head football coach on Dec. 14. However, according to a source close to the situation per Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde, it was reportedly a last-minute change of heart from university president Bill Powers that ultimately led to Brown's ouster.
The source states that as of the morning of Dec. 14, the plan was to move forward with Brown as the head coach. And despite a lengthy and productive meeting between Brown and first-year athletic director Steve Patterson, Brown was forced to resign later that day after Powers withdrew his support.
Patterson reportedly delivered the message to Brown, advising him to resign in the wake of Powers' change of heart, per the source: "Mack doesn't feel betrayed. But I think [Powers] should have done it himself."
Forde's report suggests that Brown did not resign because he was ready to pass the torch, but simply because he had no other option after being pressured by his bosses.
Powers had the following response to Brown's resignation shortly after the announcement, per a university news release:
This is a very difficult day for everyone in The University of Texas family. Mack Brown is one of the best football coaches in the country, a tremendous representative of our University, and, most importantly, a great friend. He has produced championship teams with tremendous student-athletes and has always done so with the utmost class and integrity. Mack is just the best and he will be missed. With that said, I'm excited for the future and the opportunity to work with him in a new capacity for the years to come and am thrilled that he and Sally will remain part of our family. He is an unbelievable resource for us and will always be a valuable member of the Longhorn community.
Forde's source adds that Patterson was "supportive of Brown continuing as coach" but that it wasn't his decision. Patterson, who took over as athletic director at Texas on Dec. 1 after being hired on Nov. 5, had high praise for Brown after the 62-year-old announced his resignation, per the news release:
We appreciate everything Mack has done for The University of Texas. He's been a tremendous coach, mentor, leader and ambassador for our university and our student-athletes. He is truly a college football legend. I've had a number of talks with him recently, and he has always said he wanted what was best for The University of Texas. I know this decision weighed heavily on him, and today he told us he's ready to move forward.
After turning around North Carolina's football program in the 1990s, Brown spent the last 16 years in Austin, leading Texas to a national championship in 2005 and a bowl berth in 15 of his 16 seasons. Since his resignation, many have praised Brown for his contributions to the Texas football program and representing the Longhorns the right way, per ESPN college football reporter Joe Schad via Twitter:
Mack Brown, locker room after BCS title victory: "I don't want you to say winning a FB game is the best thing to ever happen in your life."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 17, 2013
Brown will step down as Longhorns coach after Dec. 30's Alamo Bowl matchup with Oregon. Texas went 8-4 this past season, marking the fourth straight year it's finished with four or more losses. However, the Longhorns' 7-2 Big 12 record in 2013 was their best since 2009, when they reached the BCS National Championship Game.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.