Texas Hires Charlie Strong As Head Coach
Charlie Strong will leave Louisville to become the next head football coach at Texas, multiple outlets reported late Friday night.
Strong is expected to agree to a five-year contract worth about $5 million per season, Sports Illustrated reports.
The deal is expected to become official on Saturday. The news came less than 24 hours after UCLA's Jim Mora and Baylor's Art Briles reportedly said they are not interested in leaving their current schools.
Strong, a long-time assistant at Florida, is a defensive-minded coach who went 37-15 at Louisville and won 23 games the last two years with Teddy Bridgewater, who is headed to the NFL.
Though Bovada made Strong a favorite when it released a short-lived prop bet on the Texas coaching job, many expressed skepticism. Texas has its own TV network through ESPN that requires the head coach to fill programming time and cooperate with the media more than at a normal program, and there also are a lot of back-room politics associated with Texas athletics.
Brown isn't considered media-friendly and accessible, and ESPN's Travis Haney among others had reported that Texas was looking for someone with a personality fit for its extensive media outlets.
What Strong is known for is winning football games and coaching stout defenses. He started his career as a graduate assistant at Florida in 1983 and has coached under Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer.
Louisville is moving to the ACC in 2014 after one season in the newly-formed American Athletic Conference, losing out on a BCS bid to eventual Fiesta Bowl winner UCF with a home loss in October.
Texas lost five games this year, including a 30-7 drubbing by Oregon in the Alamo Bowl in Mack Brown's final game with the team. The school maintains Brown resigned on his own accord, but the head coach was under heavy public scrutiny from the Longhorns fan base and many powerful regents seemed to be shopping for his replacement since early in the year. Texas went 30-21 in four seasons after losing to Alabama in the 2009 season national title game.
New athletic director Steve Patterson said he wants a coaching staff in place by Jan. 15, when the NCAA recruiting dead period ends, so the move would give Strong 11 days to assemble a staff and launch a campaign to keep the 23 current verbal commitments to the Longhorns.
Strong inherits a team that isn't void of talent, but the group went through well-documented struggles at quarterback in Brown's final seasons, and the Texas run defense suffered off and on in 2013.
Meanwhile, the Penn State job remains open as well as the Louisville position vacated by Strong. When USC fired Kiffin and brought in Steve Sarkisian from Washington, the ripple affect roped in head coaches from Boise State, Arkansas State and ended with the North Carolina offensive coordinator, so it will be interesting to see how deep hirings by the Longhorns and Nittany Lions will reach.