Finally: Charlie Strong (Probably) Movin' On Up

There is going to be at least one hire this offseason that does not draw a stern clucking from whichever interest group sternly clucks whenever another college football head coaching job goes by without somuch as one black man getting interviewed:

⇥⇥Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong has emerged as the leading candidate for the Louisville head-coaching job, multiple sources have told ESPN.com.

And if you don't believe Pat Forde—who's kind of from Louisville—how about someoneactually in Louisville?

⇥⇥If Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong wants to become the next head football coach at the University of Louisville, it's his job to lose, sources with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday.

So bully for that. Strong's been the most obviously overlooked assistant in college football long enough for Forde to deploy "many college football observers" in the service of his opinion that Strong's inability to get a head job is an "enduring mystery."

He's not wrong. Strong's been the defensive coordinator at Florida since 2002, surviving the Zook-to-Meyer transition and consistently deploying top-10 defenses. This year Florida's defense is playing at a level that probably terrifies even Strong. Improperly guided, it could accidentally conquer Canada. That he's had to wait this long is almost inexplicable. A January interview with the Orlando Sentinel in which Strong says he believes hisinterracial marriage is a major barrier in the South goes some way towards explaining it, but surely there are places outside the Deep South that have seen Florida play defense this decade, right?

Apparently the answer is yes: Louisville. If Strong wants the job it's his. He should want it. Louisville isn't a glamour program, but before Steve Kragthorpe arrived to lay waste, the Cardinals had launched themselves into national prominence and launched two coaches to bigger things with consistent success. They can compete in recruiting and facilities with anyone in the Big East. Louisville is unlike a lot of the jobs currently held by black guys, which tend to be at places (Eastern Michigan, Buffalo, New Mexico State) that probably shouldn't even have programs.

At Louisville, Strong will have an opportunity to take over a program that was the conference alpha dog as recently as four years ago. He'll be relatively close to his old stomping grounds and should recruit like crazy; all he needs to become the country's first dominant black head coach is an offensive coordinator. I hear Steve Kragthorpe is available.

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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