I’ve got a few words of advice for Chan Gailey and Mack Brown, the new head coaches of the Dallas Cowboys and the University of Texas Longhorns, respectively: Welcome to Texas and watch your ass. You probably don’t know it yet, but fans down here are long on memory and short on patience, and a surprising number are not current on their rabies shots. They remember Tom Landry and Darrell Royal as saints and Jimmy Johnson as a rascal who grew on them once he won a couple of Super Bowls; then things got ugly. Coaches of more recent vintage are as briefly recalled and quickly forgotten as some juicy bug that splattered on a windshield.
Since you guys are new, Texans will cut you some slack—for a week or two, anyway. But you’d better produce more wins than losses. A ratio of eight to two is acceptable in the short term, though nine to one would be safer. Sooner rather than later you will be expected to bring home a championship, and then another, and then another. We won’t tolerate less. Hell, even that may not be enough. Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl and Fred Akers had the second-best winning percentage of any coach in UT history, but they’re now footnotes in a yellowing book of records.
Here are some suggestions to make your stay with us more comfortable:
• Get with the program. Cultivate an appetite for Willie, enchiladas, cheap beer, cowboy boots, and motorboats. And remember to store your .38 somewhere other than your travel bag.
• Don’t try to be a father figure. These boys don’t need a daddy; they need a warden.
• Check the police blotters daily and keep bail money handy, preferably in large bills not sequentially numbered.
• In searching out weapons, beware the obvious: A pair of innocent barber’s scissors can be as deadly as a zip gun.
• While discipline is essential, it is important to make the punishment fit the crime. A two-hundred-yard logroll over a field of fire ants is okay for being late to meetings, but it is hardly sufficient for holding penalties or class-A felonies.
• Assign a trusted assistant like Mad Dog Madden, UT’s 450-pound strength coach, to counsel wayward youths, frisk suspects, and supervise lockdowns.
• Keep the drug-sniffing dogs in a separate pen from the attack dogs. And make sure both have plenty of water. It can get mighty warm during the season.
• Forget fancy formations and complicated defenses. Teach ’em how to block and tackle.
• If you have to lose, make sure it’s not to TCU, Rice, or the Washington Redskins. And make damn sure it’s not by a score of 66—3.
• And if (a) Jerry Jones or (b) Tom Hicks calls late at night, think about a new career selling used cars.