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Charlie Strong officially announced as new USF head coach

He has plenty of roots in Florida and the Southeast.

Texas v Notre Dame Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

USF will hire former Texas and Louisville coach Charlie Strong as its head coach, the school announced Sunday afternoon. The Longhorns fired Strong last month, a day after he wrapped a 5-7 season and a 16-21 mark over three disappointing years in Austin.

USF is replacing Willie Taggart, the new head coach at Oregon, amid the first 10-win season in school history. With a likely returning senior QB in Quinton Flowers and plenty of other veterans, USF could be an AAC favorite in 2017. The Bulls also eyed Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin as a potential head coach.

It isn’t taking Strong much time to get back on the horse. Whatever Strong makes in his new job will come out of the more than $5 million per season Texas still owes him for the next two years, per the terms of the contract he signed in 2014.

Strong’s three years at Texas were disastrous, which can only partly be chalked up to the questionable level of program support and depleted roster he inherited. There’s no way to post three losing records in a row at a program like that and not have it deemed a failure.

But in other stops, Strong’s been quite successful. He also might get the last laugh if he stays in Tampa long enough.

He was 37-15 as Louisville’s coach from 2010 through 2013, and while it took some time, his Cardinals took off. He was 14-12 in his first two years at Louisville, then 23-3 in his last two, winning a Sugar Bowl and two conference coach of the year awards.

Before that, he was a highly regarded defensive coordinator at Florida, where he contributed to two national championships, and South Carolina, where he helped innovate the 3-3-5 defense. Even at Texas in 2016, when the Longhorns were bad on defense, his midseason takeover for longtime DC Vance Bedford did seem to coincide with some improvement. (This also happened right when he’d finally seemed to solve the offense by hiring new coordinator Sterlin Gilbert.) And the word is that Strong wants to bring Gilbert with him to Tampa along with much of his UT staff.

Strong’s also a solid recruiter, bringing in top-10 classes at Texas in both 2015 and 2016, and is known for adhering to strict player discipline standards, perhaps to his roster’s detriment in Austin. His players clearly adored him.

He’s had various other gigs since 1983, when he followed up his career as a Central Arkansas defensive back by becoming a Florida grad assistant, spending 14 total seasons with the Gators in three stints. His connections throughout the Southeast and especially Florida are considerably deep.