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Likely and Unlikely Replacements for Mack Brown as Longhorn Coach

Now that Mack Brown's officially resigning, Longhorn fans can breathe a sigh of relief, or of sorrow, after four years of lackluster play from UT football. But, despite latter day streakiness as a coach, Brown leaves the program second in all-time wins and an overall record of 158-47, including the 2005 BCS championship.

Brown's shoes won't be easy to fill, but there are plenty of high profile coaches in the running to do just that. Here's a list of the rumored replacements. 

Jim Harbaugh: Rumors the 49ers head coach could helm the Longhorns spread quickly following Brown's announcement, but it's unlikely the former Stanford head coach staying in San Francisco after last season's Super Bowl berth. 

Art Briles: Big 12 champs Baylor routed the Longhorns just a few weeks ago. Briles has led the Bears to unprecedented success in the past few years, with a high-powered offense that put up record-setting averages per game. But Baylor signed Briles to a 10-year extension, and a buyout seems unlikely, even with Texas' massive coffers. 

Jimbo Fisher: File Fisher under wishful thinking. He's the coach of the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles, has a Heisman-winning quarterback, was just offered a contract extension and, as The Houston Chronicle reports, told reporters he was very happy at FSU. 

Mike Tomlin: The Pittsburgh Steelers youthful Mike Tomlin might possibly be the longest of the long shots. He coached at the collegiate level for five years, with stints in Cincinnati, Arkansas State and Virginia Military Institute before moving up to the pros. Unless Tomlin has a miraculous change of heart — as he's publicly stated he doesn't want to coach a college team — don't bet on it. 

Dabo Swinney: Swinney helped put Clemson back in the national spotlight this year with the help of stellar play from quarterback Tajh Gibson. Texas would be lucky to have him, as he's considered one of the best recruiters but, as some point out, Swinney is a big fish in a small, Clemson-sized pond which, compared to the Texas-sized program in Austin, may be a little out of his depth. 

Gus Malzahn: Another national title hopeful coach, Malzahn has led the Auburn Tigers to a miraculous season — including a literal last second victory over top-ranked Alabama. The coach of the year received a substantial contract extension earlier this month and it's unlikely that he'll leave Auburn — although it should be noted that Malzahn won't make Mack Brown money until the final year of his 6-year contract. 

Mike Gundy: Here's one for the hopeful column. Longhorn fans know the potency Oklahoma State's offense all to well after this year's schlacking, but the wheels fell off for the Cowboys at the end of the year. But, as CBS reports, Gundy could bring youth into the Texas program — the same program led by a man most players probably think of as a grandfather.  

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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