Every day brings a new big name to the table as the Texas Longhorns continue their search for a new head coach. Right now, Charlie Strong of Louisville looks like the best, and most likeliest candidate to fill the position.
According to ESPN Texas have offered the job to Strong, but he still hasn’t accepted the offer. Strong has a buyout clause of $5 million, and he’s making $3.7 million a season with the Cardinals. Other sources have suggested that Strong hasn’t been formally approached by the Longhorns, but when that time comes, he’ll probably accept that offer.
Two other coaches linked with the job in Austin – Jim Mora (UCLA) and Art Briles, have publicly stated they aren’t interested in taking the job at this time.
Strong has been with Louisville for the last four years, doing a great rebuilding job, which began with two 7-6 seasons, followed by going 11-2 in 2012 before winning the Sugar Bowl against his previous employer, Florida (where he was a defensive coordinator for eight seasons), and to a 12-1 year in 2013, finishing the season with a Bowl game win against Miami.
While Louisville moving to the ACC next season offers an interesting challenge and presumably a step up in the program’s football exposure, strong is also losing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to the pros, which might make him wonder that despite the school’s commitment to winning, he possibly has reached the ceiling with the school and it’s time for him to move on.
Strong posted a 37-15 record over the last four years, making the Cardinals into something of a defensive juggernaut, although the level of competition in the Big East / AAC hasn’t been too impressive. Over the last four seasons, the Cardinals are ranked 7th in points per game allowed, 6th in yards allowed, 10th in yards per play and 3rd in sack ratio, getting one in 8.3% of quarterback dropbacks.
Strong or anyone else who replaces Mack Brown at Texas takes the job of leading the country’s wealthiest football program, but also one that hasn’t been able to do anything noteworthy since making the BCS championship game of the 2009 season. Texas have won only 18 conference games in the last four seasons. Don’t let the sympathy to Brown upon his retirement fool you – people have been calling for his head for quite some time, and Strong, who might become the first black head football coach, will be under a lot of pressure to bring Texas back among the nation’s elite.