Texas Longhorns: Former UT lineman Joe Hubbard talks Big 12 legacy

.Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez /Allsport
.Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez /Allsport /

Former Texas Longhorns offensive lineman Joe Hubbard is now in his second year as the head coach of the San Antonio East Central High School Hornets.

The former star from Hooks High School joined the Longhorns family when the team made the switch from the Southwest Conference to the Big 12. He was also part of the legendary squad that became the conference’s first champions. You know how it goes: James Brown, fourth down, rollout, touchdown vs. Nebraska.

Since leaving Austin, Hubbard has been around the game as a coach across the state of Texas. Though duties on the sidelines keep him from getting back to campus very often, he still watches every Longhorns game.

Recently, the Coach took time from his busy schedule to talk about this time on the 40 Acres, playing for John Mackovic, and the current state of the team.

Joe Hubbard on Joining Texas Football

EM: Coach, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today. First things first, when and how did you decided that you were going to play ball at UT?

JH: Well, back then, there wasn’t any kind of early committal stuff like there is today. When I went on my official visit, which was in December of my senior year, that was when I officially decided.

I grew up a Texas Longhorns fan and once I got there and was able to see the campus and be around the guys — there was just something about being there in Austin made me gravitate toward them. Obviously, playing for the flagship school in the state of Texas was just a really big deal to me.

EM: Who on the coaching staff really “clicked” with you the most or had the biggest influence on you while you were in Austin?

JH: Actually, the guy who recruited me was [the former head coach of the University of Richmond] Danny Rocco. He and I had a really special relationship. Coach Rocco was a great guy and he made me very excited to come and play for the Longhorns.

Playing for “CEO” John Mackovic

EM: For a player like you who was not in one of the ‘glamor’ positions like quarterback, what kind of relationship did you have with the head coach, especially when you were playing for John Mackovic?

JH: You know, that’s a good question. The head coach at the University of Texas is someone who is more of a CEO type, typically. So, yes, John Mackovic was my head coach when I came in and he always thought did a really good job in handling his players.

Coach Mackovic would have you in his office a couple of times and talk to you from time to time, not just about where you were as a player, but also as a student at the University of Texas. You also got some interaction from time to time with him in the locker room.

EM: What are your thoughts on Coach Mackovic overall? Obviously, you guys had some great success and then things seemed to turn pretty quickly, at least among Longhorn fans. What did you think of him?

JH: Like I said, he was more of the CEO type. He was a really bright guy. He ran it like a business almost, though. I won’t say he was a player’s coach, by any means. He managed things and his coaches ran the day to day operation.

Joe Hubbard on Winning the First Big 12 Championship

EM: You were part of that first class to go into the Big 12 — that had to have been exciting. What was the experience like for you as a player?

JH: My first season was the first season of the Big 12. It was really a neat experience. I knew, as part of the recruiting process, that we were going to go into this brand-new conference and it was really exciting for a young kid like me.

Being a part of that first Big 12 championship team is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. And, getting the chance to go against schools like the University of Nebraska who had been a part of the Big 8 for so long was something really special.

The Future of Texas Longhorns: Tom Herman

EM: Let’s talk about this year’s squad. I know you don’t get the chance to go up and see many games anymore since you’re busy with your own team. But, what are your thoughts on what Coach Herman is building so far up in Austin?

Joe Hubbard: Well, for me, it’s pretty neat to see Tom up there as the head coach. He was a graduate assistant on the offensive line my last year I was there. Just to get to see him come back and get to be the head coach is something I’m really happy to see.

When it comes to the team, I think there is some talent there and I believe he can get things turned around up there. He did that up at the University of Houston and I think we as fans have reason to believe he can do the same up in Austin.

Next: Texas Football Q&A with Peter Gardere

The one thing for sure is that when you come into a new program, you have to change the culture and I think he just needs a little time to do that.