I don’t really understand the voices saying that Texas haven’t treated Charlie Strong adequately. A head coach taking over such a program knows that 3 consecutive losing seasons including some embarrassing results isn’t going to cut it. On to the next era with the hottest name in college football coaching right now, Tom Herman.
Strong finished 5-7 for the second straight year. He ends his tenure in Austin with a 16-21 record, 12-15 in the Big 12, with his conference record worsening with every passing season. This season they beat only one team with a winning record, Baylor. Everything else? Even their win over Notre Dame turned out to be a victory that meant nothing in the long run – the Fighting Irish are 4-7, and have their own coaching dilemmas to deal with.
Strong is a good guy, or at least seems to be. His players seem to love him. He recruits well. Fans liked him, most of them at least. But his record wouldn’t have been enough at Louisville, his previous coaching job. It’s certainly not enough at one of the most demanding athletic departments in the nation. High-pressure job or not, everything besides win is nice, but it won’t save you in the end if the results don’t improve. And they didn’t for Strong, who know will wait for the right opportunity to come back, and show it wasn’t just Teddy Bridgewater that got him the Texas job. The man who replaces him, Herman, won’t have too much patience to count on from the university and the fanbase. They expect a quick turnaround, or the rumors will start swirling around him too before the first season is over.
As much as the Longhorns players love Charlie Strong, it’s not enough to stand against his record with Texas since taking over 3 years ago. Some college football programs can look at an improved record of behavior, character and recruiting classes and say that they’re on the right track; saying it’s worth being patient. But not at Texas, or any other of the major football programs. One, two losing seasons isn’t acceptable, but tolerable with a promise of a better future. Three, something most Texas fans haven’t been alive to see, is too much, even for a guy that everyone seems to love like Strong.
So it’s off to Tom Herman, who’ll try to carry on with his meteoric rise in the sky of Texas football. Two seasons with a 22-4 record at Houston is nothing to scoff at, but things seem to move quickly, even too quickly for the 41-year old out of Cincinnati, who only two years ago was still Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator. Texas might be down at the moment, but it’s a job that you don’t move up from. Herman got to the top very quickly, but staying there is a lot more difficult.