Louisville head coach Charlie Strong has been selected to replace Mack Brown at Texas, according to 247 Sports and later Rivals and Football Scoop. Sports Illustrated says Strong has agreed to a five-year deal worth $5 million per, and ESPN reports the hire is not official, but that Strong "will accept."
Jan. 4, 4:17 p.m. ET: Strong is reportedly waiting to be able to meet with Louisville admins before announcing his decision. The Austin American-Statesman reports that might not happen Saturday.
Jan. 4, 6:16 p.m. ET: Multiple reports that the deal will be announced Sunday.
Jan. 5, 2:04 p.m. ET: It's official. In a Texas statement, Strong said:
I'm excited and my family is excited to have the chance to lead one of the premier football programs in the country. Texas is one of those places that is always on your radar and a program anyone would dream of being a part of because you have a chance to compete on a national level every year. It's special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football.
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. 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.
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. He made everyone feel at home. I had the opportunity to speak at the High School Coaches Clinic in Austin a few years ago and Coach Brown introduced Coach (Darrell) Royal, and everyone gave him a standing ovation. Meeting Coach Royal and being around him that day is something I'll never forget.
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 (Athletics 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.
Strong would be the 29th head coach to lead the Longhorns, if he were to accept.
Earlier Friday, Baylor's Art Briles and UCLA's Jim Mora officially took their names out of consideration, and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston joked about Jimbo Fisher not leaving for Austin.
Strong is a good defensive football coach and an utterly unpolished country boy. Flawlessly conducted press conferences would be a thing of the past. I don't particularly mind as I don't have the emotional need for my head football coach to serve as my confidante, small town mayor, and British House of Commons wit, but it would be a fascinating redefinition of program culture. I think he's a good man and coach whose rough edges may not cut light well under a brighter spotlight. Can we deal with that? Can he?
After various positional coaching jobs (including stops at Texas A&M, Florida, Ole Miss and Notre Dame), the Arkansas native received his first major job at South Carolina, where he was hired as the defensive coordinator in 1999. He was hired as Florida's defensive coordinator in 2003, and stayed with the school through 2009 -- he was the only assistant coach retained by Urban Meyer from the Ron Zook era.
In 2010, Strong got his first head coaching job, when he was hired by Louisville. His first two seasons with the school netted identical-looking 7-6 records, but they were not equal -- in 2010, the team finished fifth in the Big East; in 2011, the Louisville tied for a conference title.
Strong's team made huge headway in 2012 thanks in large part to the play of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The Cardinals won 11 games, winning the Big East title and dismantling his Strong's old Florida team in the Sugar Bowl.
Louisville's 2013 team was even better, despite not winning the American Athletic Conference Crown. The Cardinals rode a phenomenal season from Bridgewater to a 12-1 finish, easily defeating Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl and setting up a promising first season in the ACC next year.