The University of Texas is expected to announce on Jan. 5 that it has named Louisville University football coach Charlie Strong as its new head football coach, making him the first African-American head coach of any men’s sports team in the university’s history, according to several reports.
The Associated Press reported that Strong, who served as the head football coach for Louisville for the past four seasons, told Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich on Jan. 4 of his plans to take the job at Texas. Strong had met with Texas athletics director Steve Patterson about the position vacancy earlier on Jan. 3, but wanted to wait until he spoke with Jurich on Jan. 4 before making his decision, according to the AP.
The 53-year-old native of Batesville, Ark. will replace longtime Texas head coach Mack Brown, who coached the Longhorns since 1998 and led them to a national championship in 2006. Strong has just four years of head coaching experience, leading the Louisville Cardinals football team to a 37-15 record and three bowl game victories over the last four seasons. But his coaching experience extends back to 1983 when he first joined the University of Florida as a graduate assistant coach.
Strong went on to become the defensive coordinator of the University of South Carolina from 1999-2001 and then rejoined Florida under the same role from 2002 to 2009. The defensive units he led were so successful that many believed he would become the first African-American head coach in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), but the opportunity never came.
Strong told the Orlando Sentinel in 2009 that he believed race played a part in the reason he wasn’t offered a head-coaching job earlier in his coaching career. Sports Illustrated reported that Strong, whose wife is Caucasian, said potential employers were “uncomfortable” with his interracial marriage. But now Strong will break a color barrier of one of the most storied football programs in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Strong’s deal with Texas is worth $25 million over five years, according to SI.com. The Dallas Morning News has reported that Texas will also face a buyout fee of $4 million to release Strong from the remainder of his contract with Louisville.
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