There’s No Stopping Mack Brown

Published On November 19, 2015 | November/December 2015

Busier Than Ever Mack Brown Stays Focused on Football and Giving Back To The Community

Retirement isn’t in the vocabulary of this former coach of the Texas Longhorns

By Nicole Carbon, photos by Justin Minsker

mack_brown_2Retirement is one word you will not hear Mack Brown utter. The former head football coach of the Longhorns football team at the University of Texas, Brown has been busier than ever. Learn more about what’s been occupying his time, how he’s more involved in this community than ever, and some key advice he shares that has been most helpful to him. Mack Brown will most likely always be referred to as “Coach.” He may not be coaching football, but he certainly has not retired. Rather, he has repurposed. “I will let you know when I retire, right now ESPN and my role with the University of Texas keep me very busy. I enjoy contributing to these two great organizations and really love working,” says Brown. Currently, he serves as a studio analyst for college football games joining ESPN’s college football coverage team. He can be seen on Saturday’s College Football Countdown and on Saturday Night Football hosting the halftime show. He is also the Special Assistant to the Men’s Athletics Director and UT President at the University of Texas. Along with his involvement in college football, Brown and his wife Sally, have been longtime philanthropists giving back to the Austin community since before moving to Texas. Brown shares how they were first associated with, what is now called, the Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin, “Our involvement with the Rise Schools began when I was coaching at North Carolina, we played a bowl game against Alabama and were dear friends with Gene and Ruth Ann Stallings, who founded the school in Tuscaloosa. That led us to look at getting a school started in Austin. We have met so many amazing people through our involvement with the school. It has always been such a joy seeing the impact it has on getting the students a strong start in their education.”

Another charitable organization near and dear to the Browns’ hearts is aptly named HeartGift benefitting children, from around the world, with Congenial Heart Disease (CHD) where specialized medical treatment is scarce. “HeartGift is one an incredible charity because it provides the gift of life to children and you see the results quickly. These are children that require lifesaving heart surgery. HeartGift brings children from across the world to Austin, where they have their heart repaired. It’s an incredible thing to see the gift of life be given to families across the world.”

Mack may be a model for how those who have been successful in their careers can now repurpose to give back. Brown saw an opportunity to help parents, Tim and Laura Revell, whose son was afflicted with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne is a muscle-wasting disease that impacts one in every 3,500 boys. He and Sally support the nonprofit, CureDuchenne, that raises awareness and funds research for a cure. “When Tim and Laura came to us with their story of their sons, we immediately got involved because right now, there’s no cure that exists for them and there’s a very tough end to their life before it ever really gets started. Boys that are diagnosed with Duchenne do not live into their 20s. They never become adults and it is 100 percent fatal, but there is a lot of promising research going on right now, and it gives me a huge amount of hope for these boys. There’s a very short window of time for us to get the research done to find a cure. CureDuchenne’s mission is to just find a cure,” says Brown.


Tying all of these philanthropic efforts together is a joint fundraising effort called Mack, Jack & McConaughey (MJ&M). It is led by trio Mack Brown, musician Jack Ingram, and Academy-Award winning actor Matthew McConaughey with the goal to empower kids across the country. Beginning in 2013, this two-day event raises funds to support the charities dedicated to children’s education, health and wellness, and in particular CureDuchenne, Dell Children’s Medical Hospital, HeartGift, just keep livin Foundation, and the Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin. Each of these charities sings to these fine gents.

“When we held the first MJ&M in 2013, we thought this would be a great way for our friends who want to support our efforts in the community to give one gift, one time per year, and make it a really special event for everyone. I really think it is a win-win for everyone involved and Sally and I are so proud to work with these great organizations who are changing kids’ lives,” says Brown. The event includes a gala and concert at ACL Live at the Moody Theater, a golf tournament at Spanish Oaks Golf Club, and a fashion show at the JW Marriott. To date, this organization has raised over $3.5 million for local Austin charities.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to see the impact of these organizations over the years and hear the testimony of so many parents about their children. Through this event, attendees are helping family members deal with things in their lives that are very difficult. We are able to raise funds to support their missions but also public awareness and support,” Brown shares.

Before we let Mack go we wanted to know one last tidbit from this role model and leading community figure. The one piece of advice he received over the years that was the most helpful to him, “Always do what you know is the right thing to do!” We’re etching that in stone! Save the date for next year’s MJ&M event taking place April 14-15, 2016.

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