The old saying is that you can’t keep a good man down, and in Charlie Strong’s case, this is especially true.
After building the Louisville Cardinals’ program up to national prominence, Strong became the first Black coach at the University of Texas. Inheriting a program in need of some serious discipline and housecleaning, Strong quickly established his presence by dismissing problematic players, building a new identity for the Longhorns, signing highly recruited talent and building a strong foundation for the future of the program.
But we all know about the pressures of college sports and the need to win immediately, especially when it comes to African American head coaches, so it wasn’t a surprise when Strong was fired this season, two weeks after a devastating loss to the Kansas Jayhawks. Most people expected a short leash when he was hired, but after seeing what he was trying to do for the team and how he was attempting to re-build the Longhorn’s infrastructure, some were surprised at how short that leash actually was.
Well two weeks after Texas let him go, Strong made his way down to Florida where USF Director of Athletics, Mark Harlan, announced today that he would be the new head coach for the South Florida Bulls, replacing another African American coach, Willie Taggart, who headed west to take the head coaching job for the Oregon Ducks.
I would like to thank President Genshaft and Mark Harlan for their confidence and belief in me, Strong said. I am humbled that we have a shared commitment to take this university and this football program to even greater heights. Some of the best football talent in the country is right here in the Bay Area and throughout the state of Florida, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with the young men in the USF football program and build on the strong foundation already in place.
Strong, who becomes the fourth head coach for the Bulls (Jim Leavitt, Skip Holtz and Taggart being the first three), had a 37-15 record at Louisville and a 16-21 record at Texas. He also won two national championships with the Gators as the team’s defensive coordinator, and now the 53 year old will have another chance to build up another program to national prominence. For the full release on Strong’s hiring, read here.
USF Football (@USFFootball) December 11, 2016