In one of his strongest columns, Yahoo Sports reporter and former Courier Journal and ESPN columnist Pat Forde called Charlie Strong’s first presser as the Louisville head coach as “the most authentic moment I’ve experienced at one of these events.” Who can forget Strong’s emotional pause during the conference, and the joy he expressed as he was finally getting his chance at a head coaching job.
Strong lives up to his namesake. Not just with his physical appearance, but his overall mentality. Never was Steve Kragthorpe or Bobby Petrino such an integral part of the community as their predecessor has become. Strong is very visible on campus, he’s headlined a couple of ad campaigns for the University, never denies a handshake from a proud student, alumnus, or fan of any age. He’s become a staple at basketball games, even erupting along with the rest of the KFC Yum! Center during the buzzer beater victory over Vanderbilt.
Strong has become a spitting image of Louisville Football. Hardworking, underrated, and talented. He has become the kind of coach that other universities dream of. Perhaps that’s why today’s buzz was inevitable.
The Houston Chronicle has reported that Charlie Strong has emerged on the shortlist to take over the head coaching position at Texas A&M. The article cites Strong’s deep ties with the Southeastern Conference that the Aggies are set to join next season.
Could it be? A repeat of the Petrino tragedy? Could Strong really leave the Cardinals just as his team begins to mature and grow?
These are the thoughts going through the mind of every Louisville fan. The Petrino debacle still haunts the Derby City. Card Nation is like the victim of a cheating boyfriend, constantly worrying that new relationships will lead to a similar fate.
But hiding deep under the extensive rumors and reports, lies a big heap of nothing. Strong has yet to interview for any job let alone hint that he’s considering one. Sure he’s staying silent, but a man of Strong’s ethics likely views commenting on the rumors as giving into them. The reports have been one-sided and Strong’s comments would change that.
The facts are glaring and obvious. Strong just signed a seven-year, 16 million dollar contract this summer. He has the full support of the not only the University’s athletic department but the entire fan base. Not to mention that he’s taking Louisville to its second straight bowl game, and is poised for a ten win season next year.
Charlie Strong isn’t Bobby Petrino. It is certainly a possibility that Strong would jump at a bigger name job somewhere down the line, but not this go round. Strong has talked extensively about changing “the culture” here in Louisville, that’s something he isn’t close to accomplishing yet.
In his short tenure, Charlie Strong has already become a special coach. He’s creating a program that will last far beyond his reign. Great things have come already and even greater things lie waiting in the future. Charlie Strong isn’t the type of coach that leaves unfinished business, and next season he will continue behind the momentum that he has worked so hard to build up.