“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 in the statement posted on Texas’ website. “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.”
Strong, 53, was 37-15 in four years as Louisville’s head coach. He informed athletic director Tom Jurich of his decision to leave for Texas on Saturday night. He’s succeeding Mack Brown, who spent 16 years as the Longhorns’ coach before he resigned following the Alamo Bowl amidst heavy speculation about his future at Texas.
And yes, this officially means that Nick Saban is not going to Texas. We can all stand down.
Strong is expected to be introduced on Monday. Louisville went 12-1 in 2013 and junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater declared for the NFL Draft after the season. He’s widely expected to be a candidate for the first overall pick.
Before coming to Louisville, Strong was an assistant coach at Florida. He also coached under Lou Holtz at Notre Dame and South Carolina and in 2010 when he was hired at Louisville, Holtz, now an analyst with ESPN, had this to say about him:
“The thing that impressed me most was his attitude … his people skills and his ability to communicate,” Holtz told the Courier-Journal. “I found as we went along that his greatest asset was common sense. He’s great with players … but he’s not a hip-hop coach. He really, truly could have coached for (Ohio State’s old-school taskmaster) Woody Hayes with no problem whatsoever.”
On Sunday, Jurich met with the media and called his school’s search for its next coach “wide open.” Candidates for the position could include from Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to a current head coach. Narduzzi interviewed at UConn and reportedly turned down the position. Morris would potentially be moving to a team that will be inside his current team’s conference.
Or a strong candidate could even be current head coach. Football Scoop says that Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez headlines a “very short list” for coach of the Cardinals. Would Louisville’s impending move to the ACC be enough to lure a current big conference head coach?