AUSTIN, Texas — A few days after Alabama won the 2012 national championship, a University of Texas regent and a former regent talked with Nick Saban's agent about the possibility of the Crimson Tide coach replacing Longhorns coach Mack Brown, the Associated Press reported Thursday.
Regent Wallace Hall of Dallas said he spoke by telephone with agent Jimmy Sexton a few days after the Jan. 7 game. Tom Hicks, a former regent who is the brother of current regent Steve Hicks, also was on the call.
Tom Hicks, the former owner of the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars and the English pro soccer club Liverpool, was a regent in 1997 when Brown came to Texas and was instrumental in hiring him away from North Carolina.
Two days after the call with Sexton, Tom Hicks met with Brown over lunch and told him about the call, the AP reported. He asked Brown if he was ready to retire. Brown, who had just finished his 15th season at Texas, said he wanted to keep coaching and the matter was dropped.
On his weekly radio show Thursday night, Saban said he didn't know anything about the meeting and said he's too old to start over someplace else. He also joked about Sexton talking to another school. "That's why I hired the guy. That's why I pay him," Saban said.
"Every year it's something. Last year, it was the Cleveland Browns. The year before it was something else, going back to the NFL," Saban said. "But (wife) Terry and I are very happy here in Tuscaloosa. We really love the University of Alabama."
Brown, who is under contract until 2020 and will be paid $5.4 million this year, won the 2005 national title and lost to Saban's Alabama team in the title game for the 2009 season. The Longhorns are 23-18 since that loss, and Brown is under fire from fans upset about a 1-2 start this year. Brown has said he plans to coach through his contract.
Saban has won four national championships, one with LSU in 2003 and three with Alabama in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 seasons. Saban earns $5.6 million per year, but Texas, the nation's wealthiest athletic program, could certainly afford him.
Whether Sexton initiated the contact with Texas is unclear. He did not return a telephone message. Alabama spokesman Jeff Purinton also declined comment.
Tom Hicks declined comment on the call and the meeting with Brown. Steve Hicks told the AP he was in Australia the second week in January and said he never talked to Sexton, Brown or Saban, "or authorized anyone to do so."
"Wallace Hall brought this to the chairman and myself. Nothing was authorized by the board, and the chairman and myself thought the board should not be involved," Steve Hicks said. "Tom and Mack are friends and talk often. They simply visited and just talked the idea through. It was dropped and nothing happened."
Texas president Bill Powers told Austin's American-Statesman he did not authorize either Hall or Tom Hicks to contact Saban's agent.
"Mack Brown is our coach and is working hard to move the program in the right direction," Powers told the newspaper.
Joe Jamail, Brown's attorney suggested Hall was acting on his own and threatened to sue anyone outside the university if they try to pressure Brown to resign. "If there are any more, get ready for a lawsuit," Jamail said. "Mack has publicly stated he wants to coach."
No. 3 Clemson less flashy but pulls away
RALEIGH, N.C. — Tajh Boyd threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns to help No. 3 Clemson beat North Carolina State 26-14.
Boyd's second scoring pass, a 30-yarder to Martavis Bryant, capped a crucial third-quarter sequence that allowed the Tigers (3-0, 1-0 ACC) to seize momentum in front of a hostile crowd.
Clemson pulled away from there. Boyd found Bryant for another touchdown, with Bryant snatching the ball from defender Niles Clark for a 15-yard score that helped the Tigers blow the game open early in the fourth.
Sammy Watkins added 10 catches for 96 yards on a night when Clemson's explosive offense didn't manage many big plays yet finished with 415 yards.
Tampa after title games: Tampa was said to be on the list of cities vying for the 2016 and 2017 College Football Playoff championship games, ESPN reported. At least four cities — Tampa, Jacksonville, New Orleans and Glendale, Ariz. — are on the list for the 2016 game. Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, San Francisco and San Antonio, Texas, will reportedly vie for the 2017 game. Other cities considering a bid on either game include Atlanta, Minneapolis and Arlington, Texas, the report said.
Rekindling rivalry: West Virginia and Penn State are renewing their football rivalry, announcing games set for State College, Pa., on Sept. 2, 2023, and Morgantown on Aug. 31, 2024. They last met in 1992. The series ended when Penn State moved to the Big Ten.