Texas announces Louisville’s Charlie Strong as next head coach
Texas has its man. The Longhorns officially announced the hiring of Charlie Strong as the program’s 29th football coach on Sunday.
Strong, who spent the past four seasons as head coach at Louisville, said in a statement that he is grateful for the opportunity ahead.
“I’m excited and my family is excited to have the chance to lead one of the premier football programs in the country,” Strong said. “Texas is one of those places that is always on your radar and a program anyone would dream of being a part of because you have a chance to compete on a national level every year. It’s special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football.”
In a press conference on Sunday, Jurich confirmed that Strong will depart Louisville, though Texas had yet to officially confirm the hire at that time. Several outlets, including Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com and Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com reported, first reported on Saturday that Texas was likely to announce Strong’s hire on Sunday.
The news of Strong’s hire was first reported on Friday night by Bobby Burton of 247Sports.com.
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said in a statement that Strong boasts the right credentials to carry the Longhorns’ program forward.
“I am excited to have Charlie Strong here to build on the proud tradition of Texas football and the 16 great years that Mack Brown gave to the program. Our committee and former lettermen helped create an extensive selection criteria and after visiting with Charlie, it was clear he met them all. He led championship defenses as an assistant, a resurgence at the University of Louisville with double-digit game winning seasons, and twice been selected conference coach of the year.
Most importantly, Charlie is a man of great integrity, with a wonderful family, who is well respected inside and outside the game. He is committed to the development of the total student-athlete both on and off the field. Charlie will represent the program and University extremely well. We look forward to a long and successful tenure for him here at Texas. I’d also like to thank President Bill Powers, our search committee, Jed Hughes and others who helped us select Coach Strong.”
Texas did not release contract details, but SI.com’s Pete Thamel reported on Friday night that Texas and Strong had agreed in principle to a five-year deal that would pay Strong about $5 million per year.
Strong is 37-15 in his career with Louisville, a mark that includes bowl wins over Miami and Florida in back-to-back seasons. He replaces Mack Brown, who spent 16 years as head coach at Texas. Strong discussed the responsibility of carrying over Brown’s legacy into the new era of Longhorns football.
“To follow a future Hall of Fame coach like Mack Brown, who built a program that had great success and a reputation of doing it with class and integrity, is extra special,” Strong said. “The National Championship, BCS Bowl wins and all he accomplished in 16 years built on the Longhorn legacy and makes it such an exciting place to be.
“Coach Brown developed such a strong bond with his players, the lettermen, community and high school coaches in this state, and that’s something I hope to build on. He made everyone feel at home. I had the opportunity to speak at the High School Coaches Clinic in Austin a few years ago and Coach Brown introduced Coach (Darrell) Royal, and everyone gave him a standing ovation. Meeting Coach Royal and being around him that day is something I’ll never forget.”
Strong is a guy who is a proven winner in only one stint as a head coach: The Cardinals have been one of the nation’s most successful programs over the last two years with a 23-3 record, including bowl wins in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history. Strong was well-respected as a defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer at Florida, and while the coach’s on-field credentials are excellent, many wonder how Strong will handle the relentless media coverage in Austin. Brown enjoyed a very comfortable relationship with the media during his tenure, and whether or not Strong can do the same under a much brighter light remains to be seen. Still, Strong is known as a talented recruiter, so the sky is the limit with what he can do at Texas, which enjoys a hotbed of in-state prospects right in its backyard.