Cumberland Times-News

Local Sports

January 4, 2014

Louisville: ‘No decision’ from Strong on leaving

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Charlie Strong remains Louisville’s football coach for the moment, telling assistants Saturday morning he hasn’t decided to accept Texas’ offer to become its coach, but the Longhorns remained confident they would get their man.

Cardinals football spokesman Rocco Gasparro said Saturday that Strong told his staff that “no decision had been made” on whether to leave the school after four years. The coach had not met with athletic director Tom Jurich and university President James Ramsey as expected because the AD’s return from his Colorado vacation was delayed by weather.

Two people familiar with Texas’ search told The Associated Press on Saturday night that Strong was expected to accept the school’s offer to replace Mack Brown, who stepped down last month, but that no formal announcement would be made until Sunday to give Strong time to meet with Jurich. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the process had not yet been completed.

Details of Texas’ contract offer to Strong were not immediately available. Strong’s salary at Louisville is about $4 million per year. Brown was paid more than $5 million per season.

Gasparro said early Saturday there was no timetable on a decision by Strong, who is 37-15 with the Cardinals, including 3-1 in bowl games.

“It’s a difficult decision for him,” Gasparro said.

Strong, 53, met this week with new Texas athletic director Steve Patterson about the coaching vacancy, for which several prominent names have been mentioned as candidates. Among them were Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher — who signed a contract extension this week before arriving in southern California for Monday’s BCS national championship showdown with No. 2 Auburn — UCLA’s Jim Mora and Baylor’s Art Briles, both of whom said publicly they were staying in their current jobs.

Strong turned down Tennessee’s offer to become its coach in December 2012. He had two stints as an assistant at Florida, first under Steve Spurrier and then as defensive coordinator for Urban Meyer’s two national championship teams. In 2010, Louisville hired him to take over the program and he quickly righted the Cardinals, who are moving into the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

Strong would be Texas’ first black head football coach, and he inherits a program aching to return to its place among the nation’s elite programs.

Brown’s Longhorns won the national championship after the 2005 season and returned to the national championship game after the 2009 season. But the Longhorns fell to 5-7 in 2010 and have lost at least four games each of the last three seasons.

AP Sports Writer Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

 

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