CHAPEL HILL, (WNCN) – When the University of North Carolina announced Mack Brown was hired as its head football coach, his reputation preceded him.
A Hall of Fame coach that won a national championship with Texas and has already left a mark in Chapel Hill during his first stint.
What the players and fans may not have known was what they were getting off the field.
“I think I’ve grown probably as much at any point in my life since I left Texas. You get so wrapped up for 31 years in your little routine and you don’t even know what goes on outside the walls of that program. It’s not healthy sometimes, it’s just the next week and you got to win every game. And that’s who you are and your identity becomes how many games you win and it’s not healthy, it’s hard,” said Brown.
“That’s why I said when I came back here, ‘I will be a better coach now than I’ve ever been. Hopefully that probably means I’ll be a better person than I’ve ever been.’”
Navigating coaching during a global pandemic is not for the faint of heart. Brown is thankful for the timing of his return to Chapel Hill, mostly for his guidance and impact on his players, who are dealing with a lot.
“My real job is to mentor kids. That’s my job. No better time to do it than this awful time in our country’s life. It’s different. But I’m so lucky I came back because I love mentoring kids, and they need help now. More than any times in their lives,” Brown said.
Brown goes the extra mile to make sure that his players have an identity off the field. That they’re good people in society. That they have a future lined up for them even if it’s not playing football.
“Our entire team is registered to vote. That is something that we’ve worked on. They have requested that,” he said. “We’ve had one zoom meeting about voting. We would never tell them who to vote for obviously but it’s our job to try to help them learn how to vote and answer any questions they have about voting that they’ve got.”
While the No. 8 ranked Tar Heels are practicing to do their best on the field, Brown is making sure they’re winners every day, not just Saturdays.
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