Originally Published: Jul 27, 2010 4:15 PM CDT
Mack Brown knows how to get a jump on the competition. And we’re talking off the field and before the season even gets started.
The Texas head coach and three players will be taking part Wednesday’s final day of the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. Hundreds of media anticipate their arrival along with Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas.
But the affable coach of the Longhorns will get going tonight when he hosts a group of the nation’s more influential media members at a local hotelnot the hotel where the rest of the media stay. It’s an annual thing. Texas is last on the program tomorrow, but as usual, the coach and players come in a night early.
The media guys like it. Who wouldn’t? The coach of a powerful program opining in a relaxed atmosphere. Fantastic PR for the program. Scoop and laughs for the media. Cold suds aplenty.
Say what you wantand one can certainly build a case that this is excessivebut Mack Brown is simply doing what Mack Brown does best: sell.
I’ve not talked with people from OU or any other prominent program their thoughts about this kind of a BS session with a few of the opinion-shapers in the media.
Some would probably be jealous; others would see it as over- the-top; others might be critical of the selective breeding process; while others might wonder why they didn’t think of it first.
But Texas fans should appreciate it and see it as simply taking the opportunity to sell valued product to the small but well-established individuals in the media. The others can wait in line for their Q and A on Wednesday. It’s the price of doing business.
Granted times have changed. But Mack learned a lot from his days at Oklahoma under Barry Switzer. The former Sooner was the quintessential entertainer and host to scads of media from far and wide after ball games in the early 70s. It was basically a post-game happy hour(s) after home game routes where Switzer’s early teams would “lay by halftime on occasion. The coach was in an environment thatto use the haunted coachspeak term we see today“showcased his skills.” An unconventional way to sell Oklahoma football. But it was effective.
Outrageous stories are told about “the good old’ days” when the head Associated Press writer would be told an “off the record” story that was actually “off the record.” The bonding of those evenings helped shape the opinions of the media and thus the fans.
One veteran member of the media tells me, “Mack is the only one of the coaches who shows up at some of these ‘mixers’ because he ‘gets it.’ We go do a game in Austin and everyone is accessible and we get everything we’d ever need. Is it a lot of BS? Yes. But I understand why.”
So does it work? Can’t hurt. Effective with some in the seventies and effective now with some in the 21st century. Especially effective when you are beating your hated rival. Coincidental or not, Switzer’s shindigs were going on when he was owning Texas and Brown’s Happy Hours are when he’s beaten OU four of the last five. The Texas coach wasn’t hosting any of these shindigs when Stoops was beating him five in a row.
It’s really just a matter different strokes for different folks. And right now Texas is doing just fine, thank you.