UNC football coach Mack Brown hopes to return to work in June amid COVID-19 uncertainty

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Mack Brown wasn't mincing words Monday when asked about whether his optimism had increased about playing this fall.

"The virus is awful. It's still killing people at a very high rate and these are not numbers, these are not digits, these are family members, these are people, these are friends," Brown said. "I do think we have to be cautious that we don't get hardened to it, because we're so tired of being in and just say everything's OK, because it's not."

The UNC-Chapel Hill football coach stressed repeatedly during an hour-long call Monday that he'll have zero input into when football returns.

"I've stayed in my lane because I know I don't know, and I know I'm not capable of understanding," Brown said of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More positively, Brown has been overjoyed with how his players have been handling the quarantine. In fact, he said many times it's them lifting his spirits.

"They'll call me and say are you OK? How are you doing, coach? They have been absolutely incredible," Brown said.

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That's despite that some of those players are dealing with dire circumstances.

"I'll call some of these kids that don't have anything and they're making A's and B's. I want to tear up when I get off, they're all, 'thank you for the scholarship and thank you coach, my family's out of work and there's no way we could even eat right now if we weren't on scholarship," Brown said.

UNC's recruiting has been off the charts. The Tar Heels currently have the consensus No. 3 class in the country, comprised almost entirely of in-state players, and the Michael Jordan documentary airing on ESPN surely isn't hurting in that regard.

"When I saw him, I was laughing with him and I said 'so why did you give Jordan Brand shoes to Florida and Oklahoma, and Michigan? Why don't you just give them to us?' He said 'why don't you start winning some games at my school then we'll talk. My school's won less games than those others man, we need to start winning,' I said, 'I got it.'"

Brown is still hoping to return to work in June, but right now, he's still coming to terms with life as we now know it.

"There's so many little things that we will never ever take for granted again, because we miss all of those things," he said.
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