FOR A decade, Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns won more games than almost any other program in the country.
It was the inability to meet those lofty expectations over the last 4 years that pushed Brown to resign after 16 years, ending an era that included the national championship following the 2005 season.
"The standard is really high here," Brown said yesterday at a campus news conference to explain his decision. "We set a standard at this place. You'd better win all of them. I understand that . . . The standard is really high here and I'm proud of being part of setting that standard."
From 2000-09, Brown's teams averaged more than 10 wins a season, captured two Big 12 titles, won a national title and played for another. But the program dipped sharply to 5-7 in 2010, Brown's only losing season, and the Longhorns have lost at least four games for 4 consecutive years.
Brown said he knew that wasn't good enough. It was time to find a new coach to guide the Longhorns back among the national elite and heal a fractured fan base that had grown impatient. His final game will be the Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl against Oregon.
Brown was under contract until 2020 with a salary at more than $5 million per year. He will stay on as a special consultant to president Bill Powers, a role that his current contract stipulates would pay him up to $500,000. Details of any further compensation for Brown were not immediately available.
Texas had expected a return to championship form this season, but a 1-2 start ignited months of speculation that Brown would retire or be forced out. Texas rallied with six straight wins, then dropped two of its last three games. A chance to win the Big 12 title was lost to Baylor in the finale.
Brown met with Powers and athletic director Steve Patterson on Friday to discuss his future. Brown said both told him he could stay, but after sleeping on it Friday night and talking it over with his wife, he decided it was the right time to resign.
"I felt like I could stay," Brown said. "I really felt like it wasn't best for the university to stay."
* His voice crackling, Jameis Winston stood on the stage to accept the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in New York.
Winston, the normally poised and polished Florida State quarterback who has led the top-ranked into the national championship game against Auburn, was so nervous that he had to shake some former Heisman winners' hands several times before he started his speech. Winston looked down at his parents and almost cried. He then thanked his coaches from college and high school, and his teammates.
Then, finally, Winston was able to walk over to the Heisman. After a season filled with highs on the field and a month filled with turmoil off it, he could finally clutch college football's most prestigious prize.
"When I grabbed the trophy, I was like, 'This is my trophy.' It was like a little kid,'' Winston said. "I didn't even want to pick it up. I wanted to hug the trophy, because it was mine.''
Winston was the second redshirt freshman and youngest player ever to earn the award.
As expected, Winston beat reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, Auburn running back Tre Mason, Boston College running back Andre Williams and Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch.
Reports surfaced in November that Winston was part of a sexual-assault investigation. A former FSU student accused Winston of assaulting her in December 2012. His attorney maintained the encounter was consensual, a point her attorney continued to contest Friday.
The state attorney announced Dec. 5 he was not charging Winston and the assault investigation was closed, likely clearing one of Winston's biggest Heisman hurdles.
"I mean, this is a great feeling, but obviously nothing will come close to the feeling of me being vindicated,'' Winston said. "This is a moment where . . . I don't really want to talk about that right now. This is a moment that I will cherish for the rest of my life.''
* Another quarterback is leaving Florida after the program's first losing season since 1979.
Tyler Murphy, who started six games and may have gotten a shot at the job in 2014, announced he's leaving to play his senior year elsewhere.
Murphy joins freshman Max Staver as quarterbacks who have left the program after Florida coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive-line coach Tim Davis.
The departures leave the Gators with just two scholarship quarterbacks: injured starter Jeff Driskel and freshman Skyler Mornhinweg, from St. Joseph's Prep. Highly touted recruit Will Grier is expected to enroll in January.