When Mack Brown gathered his team following a Saturday practice on Dec. 14, 2013, and revealed his plan to resign, he set off a chain reaction in the college football world.
Among his peers, the effects of Brown's move are still being realized six months later. This was a Texas-sized boulder in the coaching pool, and it caused a tremendous ripple effect.
Directly or indirectly, Brown's decision to leave Texas affected the jobs of 103 coaches and influenced coaching changes at 47 college programs, four NFL organizations and two high schools. The impact of the legendary coach's departure was felt at every level of the game.
In ending his 16-year tenure at Texas, Brown didn't just cede the throne of one of college football's most coveted jobs -- a job so powerful that Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher, Art Briles, Gus Malzahn and Jim Mora all received raises just for being rumored UT candidates. Brown's move also altered the lives, careers and futures of coaches around the country.
These are just a few of the 103 men with similar dreams and brand-new plans.
The coveted coach
He has the throne and the kingdom, but the biggest beneficiary of Mack Brown's resignation doesn't have a castle just yet.
Five months into his new job and still living out of an on-campus hotel, Strong remains engulfed in controlled chaos. Meetings, hiring, recruiting, interviews, planning, coaching, more meetings, more recruiting, a 13-city barnstorming tour, now the summer camps. Nobody ever said dream jobs are easy.
Three days after Louisville's 36-9 beatdown of Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl, Strong interviewed with Texas. At his request, Strong's four-hour New Year's Eve meeting with athletic director Steve Patterson took place in his home, with his family by his side.
"I always think when you're interviewing with someone, you should meet them in your home," Strong said. "You get such a good feel for people and how they are when they're at home."
Louisville had become a loving home for this family. Prior to his hiring there, Strong spent a decade feeling the frustration of discrimination in his difficult quest to become more than a defensive coordinator.
Strong suspected some schools only interviewed him as the obligatory African-American candidate. He'd heard whispers that, given that his wife Victoria is white, ADs feared how boosters would react to an interracial couple. But Strong did not complain.
Cardinals athletic director Tom Jurich saw only a 49-year-old coach with intense dedication and two national title rings from Florida. Strong was the only coach he pursued in December 2009. When Jurich stood in his living room and offered the job, Strong broke into tears.
That moment and his bond with Jurich weighed heavily on Strong's heart a year ago when Tennessee offered him its head coaching job. He admits now that Vols AD Dave Hart did "a great job trying to convince me," but Strong couldn't accept.
"There was a lot of work to be done at Louisville," he said. "I just couldn't leave that program."
But he was prepared by the time Texas entered the picture.