AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown united and revived a divided and dormant Texas football program and coached the Longhorns to their first undisputed national title in 36 years.
Now, after four seasons with at least four losses, Brown is stepping down to make way for the next coach to try to push the Longhorns back into the nation's elite.
Texas announced Saturday night that Brown, who won the 2005 national championship, is retiring after 16 seasons, with his final game to be the Dec. 30 Valero Alamo Bowl against Oregon.
In a statement released by the school Saturday night, Brown acknowledged it was time for a change after a 30-20 record and 18-17 mark in the Big 12 over the last four seasons. Texas is 8-4 this season and lost the Big 12 title to Baylor in the final game of the regular season.
Brown made the decision to resign Saturday at about 4 p.m. ET, a university source told ESPN's Shelley Smith, and told everyone closely associated with the program personally.
New athletic director Steve Patterson was seen about that time walking around Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, gazing at walls and statues.
Brown then went to the team's first practice for the Alamo Bowl. After it ended, he gathered players and recruits and told them he was stepping down, a moment that was met with stunned silence, the source said. On Saturday night, Brown and his wife, Sally, attended a dinner for recruits and their families as usual and worked the room for more than two hours.
"It's been a wonderful ride. Now, the program is again being pulled in different directions, and I think the time is right for a change," Brown said in the statement. "I love the University of Texas, all of its supporters, the great fans and everyone that played and coached here ... It is the best coaching job and the premier football program in America."
The announcement came after a week of intense speculation about the 62-year-old coach's future and amid reports he was considering stepping down.
A source told ESPN's Brett McMurphy on Friday night that Brown had been fighting to keep his job. Earlier this week, Brown had confided in those close to him that he was resigning, a source said. However, Brown was "enraged" when the news leaked to the media, and he decided to change course, according to the source.
Brown refuted those reports after Texas' football banquet Friday.
Brown led the Longhorns through a run of dominance from 2001-09, when Texas went 101-16, won two Big 12 titles and twice played for the national championship.
"I sincerely want to get back to the top and that's why I'm stepping down after the bowl game," Brown said in the news release. "I hope with some new energy, we can get this thing rolling again."
He has 158 victories at Texas, No. 2 behind the late Darrell Royal, who won 167 in 20 seasons with the Longhorns. Brown is 244-121-1 overall in 29 years as a head coach.
"This is a very difficult day for everyone in the University of Texas family," Texas president Bill Powers said. "Mack Brown is one of the best football coaches in the country."