Louisville officials confirmed late Saturday that Charlie Strong will leave to become the next head football coach at the University of Texas.
Texas has not made an official announcement because they were waiting for Strong to have a face-to-face meeting with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who was stuck in Colorado most of the day and couldn’t return to Kentucky because of inclement weather.
Jurich did return Saturday night and met with Strong, according to a Louisville spokesman. Strong insisted that Texas wait out of his respect for Jurich, the man who gave Strong his first head coaching job after almost two decades as an assistant.
The 53-year-old Arkansas native was offered a five-year contract worth approximately $5 million annually, a high-ranking UT source said. Strong has compiled a 37-15 record in four seasons with the Cardinals.
Strong becomes the first black head coach of any men’s sport in Texas history. This is something some university officials have been privately hoping would happen.
The American-Statesmen reported in December that longtime UT benefactor Red McCombs would support school officials if they hired a minority head coach – assuming he was the right candidate for the job.
The Longhorns have had only one black coach lead one of their four major programs. Rod Page was the women’s basketball coach for two seasons in the mid-1970s before giving way to Jody Conradt.
If Strong fell through, the school was prepared to go hard after Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, who also is black. Once reports surfaced Friday that UT had picked Strong, Franklin’s name was almost immediately attached to the vacant Penn State job or possible NFL openings.
One high-ranking source told the American-Statesman on Friday that Strong and Franklin were the school’s top two choices and that Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban were off the board.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.