AUSTIN, Texas -- A top University of Texas booster who arranged a telephone conversation with Alabama coach Nick Saban's agent says the talk lasted 45 minutes.
Tom Hicks, who also is a former University of Texas System regent, told the Austin American-Statesman this week about the January telephone call between him and Saban agent Jimmy Sexton. He and Regent Wallace Hall Jr. probed Sexton on whether Saban would be interested in succeeding Mack Brown as Texas football coach. Hall insisted on participating in the call last January, he said.
Hicks provided few details of the call to the newspaper. Hicks had declined to comment on the call at all to The Associated Press when it first reported it last week.
Hicks lunched with Brown two days after the Sexton conversation and asked if he had considered retirement.
"He had a passion for wanting to stay," Hicks told the newspaper. "I said, 'Mack, I'm glad to hear this passion. That's great.' "
The telephone call came a few days after Alabama won the national championship Jan. 7.
Hicks, the former owner of the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Stars and the English soccer club Liverpool, was a regent in 1997 when Brown came to Texas and was instrumental in hiring him away from North Carolina. He also is the brother of current Regent Steve Hicks, who also is the athletics liaison between the University of Texas at Austin and the board of regents.
On his weekly radio show last week, 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.
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 2010 championship game. The Longhorns are 23-19 since that defeat and Brown was under fire from fans upset about a 1-2 start this year after consecutive lopsided losses to BYU and Mississippi.