Mother Nature appears to be the only thing stopping Louisville’s Charlie Strong from becoming the next head football coach at Texas.
Sources at both Texas and Louisville told the American-Statesman on Saturday that Strong is poised to accept the job but wants to meet with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and his university president first.
But Jurich, who was on vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colo., is stuck there because of inclement weather.
Jurich was supposed to come home on a commercial flight. Now arrangements are being made to fly him home via private plane, one Louisville source said. At midday, there was a private plane parked in Salina, Kan., ready to head toward Colorado but there was snow in the area preventing it from taking off. It probably won’t be determined whether Jurich can get out of Colorado for several more hours.
For weeks now, Louisville players have known they were to be back for a team meeting at 5 p.m. Sunday. Louisville starts school again on Monday. It’s doubtful a team meeting could be moved up to Saturday because the players are spread out all over the state, the Louisville source said.
Strong was also scheduled to fly to Bristol, Conn., to participate in ESPN’s coverage of the BCS national championship game. It’s unclear if that will still happen, although Texas officials would want it to work out so Strong can promote UT instead of Louisville.
A Texas source close to the situation felt confident this will all work out. “He wants to do this thing right,” the source told the American-Statesman.
Strong had a 15-minute meeting with his assistant coaches at 9 a.m. Eastern time this morning and told them nothing definitive, a source close to Strong said. The assistant coaches quickly left the football offices without saying anything to Louisville media waiting outside.
Several Louisville reporters issued tweets that Cardinals coaches were calling their recruits with updates on the situation. That is allowed under NCAA rules even though we are in the NCAA-mandated recruiting dead period. Phone calls are allowed but face-to-face contact is not.
One other issue could be Strong’s assistant Clint Hurtt, who was hit with a two-year NCAA show-cause penalty in October for violations at Miami tied to the Nevin Shapiro scandal. According to the NCAA penalty, Hurtt is banned from any recruiting activity until the spring 2014. It’s unclear whether Strong would try to bring Hurtt along with him to Texas.
Strong has been offered a five year contract worth approximately $5 million annually, a source told the American-Statesman.
If Strong accepts the job, he would become the first black coach in any men’s sport in Texas history.
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