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Former Appalachian State Coach and Avery Resident Mack Brown to be Enshrined in College Football Hall of Fame

Mack Brown as Coach at App State in 1983

By Tim Gardner

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame has announced the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class, which includes 10 First Team All-America players and three standout coaches. The class was announced Monday in Atlanta in conjunction with the College Football Playoffs National Championship game.

The star-studded list of inductees has a strong North Carolina and High Country connection as it includes former Appalachian State and University of North Carolina head coach and part-time Avery County resident Mack Brown.

“It’s very difficult to put into words what it (Hall of Fame induction) means to me and my family,” said Brown, who has a home in Linville. “It’s a great honor that we’ll always cherish. To have been blessed to play the game for many years, then continue as a coach for 40 years, I was so fortunate to work with thousands of unbelievable student-athletes and amazing staff members.  I’ll humbly and proudly accept this for all of us.

“It was absolutely a labor of love. Now to represent so many tremendous people as a member of the College Football Hall of Fame is a tribute to a lot of great teamwork and an absolute dream come true for me.”

The 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class will be officially inducted at the 61st NFF Annual Awards Dinner on December 4, 2018, at the New York Hilton Midtown. The inductees will also be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, presented by Fidelity Investments, during the fall. Their accomplishments will be forever immortalized at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Highlighted by a national championship win at Texas, Brown led his teams to 22 bowl games during a 30-year career as a head coach. His 244 career victories are the 10th most by a coach in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) history.

Brown began his successful head coaching career with a one-year stint at Appalachian State in 1983, helping the Mountaineers improve on a 4-7 record from the year before as he led them to a 6-5 record. That ’83 season began with a 27-25 victory at Wake Forest and included a 4-1 start that propelled Appalachian State to Number 10 in the National I-AA rankings.
 Brown was then hired as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. He worked there under Hall of Fame coach Barry Switzer for one season (1984). Brown then became the head coach and athletics director at Tulane in 1985. He led the Green Wave to a 6-6 record in his final year in 1987 and a trip to the Independence Bowl, the school’s first bowl appearance in seven years.

During 10 seasons as the head coach at North Carolina from 1988-97, Brown won 69 games – tied for the second most victories in school history. Brown’s Tar Heels would post winning records in his final eight seasons and earn bowl bids every year beginning in 1992. That included a win in the 1993 Peach Bowl, the program’s first bowl appearance since 1986. The 1996 ACC Coach of the Year led North Carolina to three 10-win seasons, and the team finished in the Top 25 nationally four times, including a Number 10 ranking in 1996 and Number 4 in 1997.

It was at Texas from 1998-2013 where Brown would see his greatest success. Boasting the highest winning percentage (76.7 percent) in school history among coaches with at least 10 years at the helm, his 158 career wins are second only to Hall of Fame coach Darrell Royal in Longhorn history.

During the 2005 season, Brown guided Texas to its first national championship in 35 years after defeating Southern California at the Rose Bowl in one of the greatest games in college football history. The 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year won two conference titles (2005, 2009), four Big 12 South Division titles and led the Longhorns to another appearance in the BCS National Championship following the 2009 season. A two-time National Coach of the Year at Texas, Brown won more than 10 games in nine consecutive seasons, and his teams posted 13 top 25 finishes, including seven in the top 10. He posted a Big 12 record 21 consecutive conference wins from 2004-06, and he led the Longhorns to bowl games in all but one season, winning 10.

Over his career, Brown coached 37 First Team All-Americans, six Academic All-Americans, 11 conference Players of the Year and 110 first team all-conference selections, including Appalachian State offensive guard Ed Boyd in 1983.

Brown also coached two College Football Hall of Famers in Dre Bly (North Carolina) and Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams (Texas), and four NFF National Scholar-Athletes, including Campbell Trophy winners Sam Acho and Dallas Griffin at Texas. Brown posted 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1990-2009, and his 225 wins from 1990-2013 were the most among FBS coaches during that span.  

A Cookeville, TN native, Brown played running back at Vanderbilt and Florida State. Before his first head coaching job at Appalachian State, he served as an assistant coach at Florida State, Southern Miss, Memphis, Iowa State and LSU. A member of the Texas Longhorns Hall of Honor, Brown is also enshrined in the Rose Bowl, State of Texas Sports, State of Tennessee Sports and Holiday Bowl Halls of Fame. He currently serves as a college football studio and game analyst at ESPN and as a Special Assistant for Athletics at the University of Texas.

Brown joins former Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore (2014), linebacker Dexter Coakley (2011) and 1970s assistant coach Fisher DeBerry (2011) as Mountaineers inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. DeBerry was primarily inducted for his work as the Air Force Academy’s head coach.

The 2018 College Hall of Fame inductees were selected from the national ballot of 75 All-America players and six elite coaches from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 98 players and 31 coaches from the divisional ranks.

The complete list of this year’s College Football Hall of Fame enshrinees includes:

Players-Trevor Cobb, Running Back, Rice (1989-92); Kerry Collins, Quarterback, Penn State (1991-94); Dave Dickenson, Quarterback, Montana (1992-95); Dana Howard, Linebacker, Illinois (1991-94); Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver, Georgia Tech (2004-06); Paul Palmer, Running Back, Temple (1983-86); Ed Reed, Defensive back, Miami (FL) (1998-2001), Matt Stinchcomb, Offensive Tackle, Georgia (1995-98); Aaron Taylor, Center/Offensive Guard, Nebraska (1994-97); and Charles Woodson, Defensive Back, Michigan (1995-97).

Coaches- Frank Beamer (244-144-4 record for a 65.9 winning percentage) of Murray State (1981-86) and Virginia Tech (1987-2015); Mack Brown (244-122-1 record for a 66.6 winning percentage) of Appalachian State (1983), Tulane (1985-87), North Carolina (1988-97) and Texas (1998-2013); and Mel Tjeerdsma (242-82-4 for a 74.4 winning percentage) of Austin College [Texas] (1984-93) and Northwest Missouri State (1994-2010).

“We’re extremely proud of the 2018 College Football Hall of Fame Class,” said Archie Manning, NFF Chairman and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from the University of Mississippi. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played or coached the game, and we are happy to immortalize their incredible accomplishments.”

The announcement of the 2018 Class was made live on ESPN’s SportsCenter in Atlanta, the site of the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship game, played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium between Georgia and Alabama. Brown joined the ESPN set inside the stadium for the announcement, representing the class and sharing his thoughts on induction. 

Brown’s fellow inductees, Beamer and Stinchcomb, joined Brown in participating in the coin toss on the field during the championship game.

Hall of Fame Selection criteria includes:


  1. First and foremost, a player must have received First Team All-America recognition by a selector organization that is recognized by the NCAA and utilized to comprise their consensus All-America teams.


  1. A player becomes eligible for consideration by the Foundation’s honors courts 10 full seasons after his final year of intercollegiate football played.


  1. While each nominee’s football achievements in college are of prime consideration, his post football record as a citizen is also weighed. He must have proven himself worthy as a citizen, carrying the ideals of football forward into his relations with his community and fellow man. Consideration may also be given for academic honors and whether or not the candidate earned a college degree.


  1. Players must have played their last year of intercollegiate football within the last 50 years. For example, to be eligible for the 2018 ballot, the player must have played his last year in 1968 or thereafter. In addition, players who are playing professionally and coaches who are coaching on the professional level are not eligible until after they retire.

A coach becomes eligible three full seasons after retirement or immediately following retirement provided he is at least 70 years of age. Active coaches become eligible at 75 years of age. He must have been a head coach for a minimum of 10 years and coached at least 100 games with a .600 winning percentage.

* Players that do not comply with the 50-year rule may still be eligible for consideration by the Football Bowl Subdivision and Divisional Honors Review Committees, which examine unique cases.

The Mack Brown Family Picture