Posted October 3rd, 2017
The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.
Mack Brown stepped down as the Longhorns coach following the final game of 2013.
The Texas coaching search really began two weeks earlier and, considering program and the history, a lengthy coaching search began in Austin.
There were so many names thrown about. Nick Saban of Alabama, Jimbo Fisher of Florida State (who was playing for and won a national championship that season), Urban Meyer of Ohio State. The list was unrealistic given where those coaches were at and were Texas was at. But that’s where the search started.
Stanford’s David Shaw and LSU’s Les Miles were also being opined by Texas writers.
So was Louisville coach Charlie Strong.
The Arkansas native had as good of a resume as coach could possibly have. He had worked under some of the best coaches of all-time in Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz and Urban Meyer. He helped build one of the best defenses in the nation at Florida and helped the program twice win a national title. He left to take over a struggling Louisville program and rebuilt the Cardinals into a national contender, winning the Sugar Bowl in 2012 and going 23-3 in his final two seasons at Louisville.
On Jan. 6, Texas made it official and made some history. Charlie Strong was hired. He was the first black football coach to ever be hired for the top job.
Statesman columnist Cedric Golden wrote: “Now, for those who are already upset because you’re once again reading about the significance of Texas hiring its first black head football coach, please be advised that it’s a really big deal in the black community, particularly among black alums who played football at Texas. I’ve spoken to quite a few over the past few days, and, to a man, they are ecstatic.
Strong was also Steve Patterson’s first major hire as athletic director. The two would be linked.
Almost immediately Strong started changing the program. He kicked a handful of players out of the program, suspended several others and overall set core values for players.
But say what you want about Strong’s first season, the cupboard wasn’t completely bare. Quarterback David Ash was back for his senior season. The defense had talent up front, and it wasn’t as though Strong was walking into anywhere near the mess he had in Louisville. Texas, after all, was a half away from winning the Big 12 the year before.
After beating North Texas 38-7, Strong’s first major home game was not good. BYU demolished Texas 41-7. Ash’s career was effectively over following a string of concussions, and Texas had no sound quarterback options. After six games, Texas was 2-4. A five-point loss to Oklahoma preceded Strong’s first Big 12 win, a 48-45 victory over Iowa State.
Texas was shutout at Kansas State, 23-0, then ripped off three wins in a row to improve to 6-5. Playing against No. 6 TCU to end the season, Texas lost at home 48-10.
The Longhorns were invited to the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl to play old rival Arkansas. The Razorbacks won 31-7.
The 6-7 record was the worst since 2010, the beginning of the end for Mack Brown, and only the second losing season in 17 years.