Brown recalls first Rose Bowl feelings

Texas head football coach Mack Brown (WBRC photo)
Texas head football coach Mack Brown (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - There was a time when Texas head coach Mack Brown never thought he would coach in the Rose Bowl.

"When we came here in '04 for the '05 Michigan game, I thought it was the coolest thing, and I didn't know what to do, because a young guy from Cookville, Tennessee, would never be able to coach or play in the Rose Bowl."

Brown led the Longhorns to a 38-37 victory against Michigan in that game. He admits playing in the Rose Bowl is weird for an old-school SEC football fan.

"I grew up an Alabama fan," Brown said. "But you didn't come west. You played in the Cotton Bowl and you played in the Orange Bowl and you played in the Sugar Bowl, but this was taboo for us."

When Texas earned its spot in the 2005 Rose Bowl, Brown said he called former USC head coach John Robinson for advice.

"I called Coach Robinson and said, 'help me with what to do, what's the Rose Bowl like? Tell me about the parade. Tell me about what the kids are supposed to do.'"

Brown said Robinson's response was very unique.

"He said, 'it's very, very hard to get to the Rose Bowl as a player or coach -- very few people get to do it. What you need to do is be really proud, and when you stand out on the field before the game, make sure you go out there by yourself, stand in a corner, look up in those beautiful mountains, see the sun setting and say this is pretty cool, and then go back and do what you always do.'"

Brown said winning these big bowl games gets more special every year.

"When we looked at the Michigan win, we thought it couldn't get any better than that. The next year we beat SC, and we said, 'ooh, this is better than that.'"

Brown said this game is special to both Texas and Alabama.

"They're historic programs, very proud fan bases in both cases. The history of the game is so important to both. Coach Royal is still alive and has things named after him. I think Coach Bryant still walks the halls at Tuscaloosa, and he has things named after him. But everybody that sees the "A" and sees the Longhorns knows the programs, and that's what makes this game so special."

Copyright 2010 WBRC-TV. All Rights Reserved.