This One’s For the Girls: Mack Brown Hosts Women’s Football Clinic

Mack Browns Women's Clinic

Say what you want about Mack Brown, but he’s definitely got one thing going for him—the ladies love him.

More than 700 burnt-orange-clad female football fans crowded into the Red McCombs Red Zone of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium this week to get a peek at the Longhorns’ head honcho himself. Now in its 16th year, the always sold-out Mack Brown Women’s Clinic is an evening dedicated to educating women about football and the upcoming season—a tradition Mack and his wife, Sally, began back when he coached for North Carolina.

Women started lining up for this year’s clinic at 2 p.m., three full hours before the doors actually opened. A clinic attendee for eight years, Heather Klotz, BS ’78, drove in extra early from Taylor, Texas, to ensure she’d be first in line to get her photo taken with the UT head coach. Klotz, a self-professed orangeblood, says she comes to the event because she’s always loved Texas football.

“In the state of Texas, women already know football. They’re asking the tough questions,” Mack said before the event. “We felt it’s important to give back to these fans.”

The night’s attendees chowed down on fajitas and sipped cocktails while panels of Longhorn coaches, players, and staff took to the stage to answer audience questions in a nearly four-hour-long Q&A session that was peppered with cheers, hoots, and hollers—especially when crowd-favorite Major Applewhite made an appearance.

While the Browns may have been the event hosts, the night’s real star was Texas football. After Mack took the stage to a standing ovation and many an iPhone in the air snapping photos, he faced an inquisition from some of UT’s most avid fans.

One hot topic was the Longhorn Network, which was met with a collective groan when brought up. Mack admitted to feeling their pain—even his office just got access to LHN only recently.

“My understanding is that the Longhorn Network will one day be sold as a big package like ESPN2 and ESPNU,” Mack said. “We hope it gets sold soon, because I know this will be a wonderful thing for Texas in the long run. Right now, they’re working stuff out.”

The questions really ran the gamut: one woman asked where defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat had gotten his shoes, while another requested more dancing on the sidelines. (The team famously got its groove on to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” against West Virginia last season.) One woman even took to the mic and apologized for not shaving her legs that night—which prompted a chorus of laughter from her fellow attendees.

Mack fielded questions about how much he sleeps a night (five hours max) and how he’d gotten into better shape—by eating half of what he’d been eating prior, and walking every day. In true nice-guy form, he also remembered little tidbits about the women doing the asking, whom he’d met earlier in the photo line. He congratulated one fan on her 100-pound weight loss this past year, and pointed out another woman who was recovering from an injury.

Known as the ‘first lady of Texas football,’ Sally also took the mic a few times to explain her role with the team—the “love coach,” she calls it—and discuss life as a coach’s wife.

“There was this one time Sally was invited to sit in the box [at the stadium] with the Bushes,” Mack told the crowd. “And Laura Bush said to her, ‘I can’t imagine the pressure you’re under as the wife of the coach of the UT football team.’ And Sally was like, ‘Oh gosh, this must be worse than we thought!'”

The Q&A session was peppered with raffle drawings for giveaways donated by Russell Korman, the University Co-op, and Inner Space Cavern. A polkadot canvas tote went to one of the night’s VIPs, Edith Royal, wife of the late former Texas coach Darrell K Royal. Edith, who attends the clinic each year, sat in the front row and closed down the event, which ran almost until 10 p.m.

“When we first got to Austin, Edith told me, ‘Texas football is like a roller coaster, so hang on,'” Sally said. “And I’ve been hanging on for 16 years now.”

As the night wound down, Mack encouraged all of the lady Longhorn fans to come early, stay late, and wear burnt orange to all of UT’s games this season, and asked them to rally others to do the same.

He joked: “If they aren’t passionate football fans and they’re in Texas, they should get counseling!”

Photo courtesy UT Athletics.


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