Charlie Strong made history on Sunday when he was declared coach of Texas, making him the first Black head coach of the Longhorns football team. In fact, he’s the first Black to be a head coach at Texas in any of the athletic program’s men sports.
“A historic day for The University of Texas and a historic hire for our football team,” school president Bill Powers said.
Strong, 53, who leaves Louisville after four outstanding years during which he was twice named the Big East Coach of The Year, was lauded in a prepared statement by Longhorn athletic director Steve Patterson as “a man of great integrity, with a wonderful family, who is well respected inside and outside the game.”
“Our committee and former lettermen helped create an extensive selection criteria and after visiting with Charlie, it was clear he met them all,” Patterson said in the statement. “He led championship defenses as an assistant, a resurgence at the University of Louisville with double-digit game-winning seasons, and twice been selected conference coach of the year.”
Strong replaces Mack Brown, who leaves Texas after 16 seasons. He arrived in Austin on Sunday afternoon and will be introduced at a Monday news conference.
“To follow a future Hall of Fame coach like Mack Brown, who built a program that had great success and a reputation of doing it with class and integrity, is extra special,” Strong said in the statement. “The National Championship, BCS Bowl wins and all he accomplished in 16 years built on the Longhorn legacy and makes it such an exciting place to be.
“This was a difficult decision because the University of Louisville gave me my first opportunity as a head coach. I have so much respect for President [James] Ramsey and [athletic director] Tom Jurich. They have been great to me and my family, and it was very hard to say goodbye, but they know this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
During his time at Louisville, Strong’s teams went 37-15, won two conference titles and an Allstate Sugar Bowl victory over No. 3 Florida last year. Strong was named Big East Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012, and led Louisville to a 12-1 record and a 36-9 victory over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28.
Under Strong’s guidance, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater developed into a potential No. 1 overall draft pick and defensive end and Marcus Smith earned All-America and AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Brown resigned on Dec. 14 and finished his Texas career with a record of 158-48.
“Coach Brown developed such a strong bond with his players, the lettermen, community and high school coaches in this state, and that’s something I hope to build on,” Strong said. “He made everyone feel at home.”