Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mack Brown: the coach with the photogenic mind

This feller was giving me a ride from Raleigh to Durham.

(As reported earlier, I've been living temporarily in North Carolina, where I continue to conduct important business.)

The guy let it be known he was a University of North Carolina supporter.

Especially the basketball program, for which he has ponied up a total of $100,000 in contributions over the years.

He supports the Tarheel football team, too. But this is basketball country. On the talk radio shows, they still talk about college hoops even in the offseason. It's maddeningly dull for me, who only follows the college game during tournament time.

Anyhow, I took the opportunity to ask the feller if people around Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill were still sore at Mack Brown for going to the University of Texas.

Oh, no, he said, everyone realizes Mack couldn't accomplish what he wanted to accomplish (ie, win a national championship) at UNC.

Then he launched into an anecdote about the first time he met Mack Brown. Brown had been at UNC only a year or two at that point, and had suffered some brutal losing seasons.

This was at a football banquet of some sort, and Brown told the crowd that Tarheel foes better enjoy it while they can, cause the school's football fortunes were about to turn for the better.

After the speech, the guy said he introduced himself to Brown and wished him well.

Now, this guy was no big alum. He didn't just cut a big check to the UNC football program. In fact, this feller wasn't even a college graduate. He owned and operated a convenience store.

"I was just there for the food."

Still and all, he wished Mack Brown luck, he said.

Then, six months later, he crossed Mack Brown's path again, he said.

And Mack Brown remembered his name, saying Hidy Mr. So-and-So.

"I couldn't believe it," he said. "I wasn't anybody he should have remembered, but he did. They say he's got a photogenic mind."

I didn't bother to correct his misuse of the word photogenic, preferring to just chuckle to myself.

And anyway, maybe Mack Brown's mind is photogenic. It seems pretty photogenic ever since the Rose Bowl, I'd say.

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