AUSTIN -- The rumors are true. University of Texas head football coach Mack Brown will step down after 16 years.
The Longhorn Network initially broke the news on Twitter, followed soon by an official press release from the athletic department.
Brown released the following statement Saturday:
"Sally and I were brought to Texas 16 years ago to pull together a football program that was divided. With a lot of passion, hard work and determination from the kids, coaches and staff, we did that. We built a strong football family, reached great heights and accomplished a lot, and for that, I thank everyone. It's been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change. I love The University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here. I can't thank DeLoss Dodds enough for bringing our family here, and Bill Powers and the administration for supporting us at a place where I have made lifelong friendships. It is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America. I sincerely want it to get back to the top and that's why I am stepping down after the bowl game. I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again."
Recently hired men's athletic director Steve Patterson stated his support and appreciation for the longtime coach.
"He's been a tremendous coach, mentor, leader and ambassador for our university and our student-athletes," Patterson said in a statement. "He is truly a college football legend."
UT president Bill Powers, a longtime supporter of Brown's career, again echoed his support and admiration for Brown in the following statement:
"This is a very difficult day for everyone in The University of Texas family. Mack Brown 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."
See the full press release from the athletic department here.
Rumors flew throughout the week that Brown could be replaced by Alabama coach Nick Saban, but Kirk Herbstreit at ESPN reported Friday that Saban agreed to a multiyear contract extension to stay at Alabama.
Brown has served as the Longhorns' head coach since 1998. He has a 158-47 record at Texas, including one national championship win and a second national championship game appearance. The Longhorns finished the 2013 season with an 8-4 record.