The college football world swirled with rumors for the better part of weeks as to who would replace Mac Brown as the Longhorns’ head coach, with many believing the University of Texas could entice legendary coach Nick Saban away from Alabama. In the end, Texas chose another big name, coming to terms with Charlie Strong, the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals. The signing was historic as Strong will be Texas’ first African-American head coach, and will hopefully bring some defensive toughness to a team that sorely needs it.
Texas Gives Strong The Big Money
Texas officially signed Charlie Strong to a five year $24.4 million contract on Monday, releasing the details to the public. Texas also agreed to pay the roughly $4.375 million buyout of Strong’s contract with Louisville, which means Strong will likely make over $9 million in 2014, easily the most of any head coach in college sports. Strong will stand to make $5 million from Texas this year, making him the third head coach in college football to receive an annual salary of $5 million a year or more, joining Alabama’s Nick Saban, and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin. Strong’s contract will also have a number of pay based incentives, and is guaranteed to increase by $100,000 every year. The contract is loaded with a number of perks and benefits, including a suite for home football games, six season tickets for football, four season tickets for another university sports, membership to the University of Texas’ Golf Club, paid travel expenses for his wife to come to away games, and 20 hours of airplane time. In short, Strong stands to greatly benefit from the signing.
Can Strong Return Texas To Greatness?
The signing is historic for a number of reasons, as Strong is the first African-American coach in Texas’ history (and, unfortunately, certain boosters have already voiced their opposition to the hiring of an African-American), and he will become one of the highest paid coaches in all of college sports. But Strong will face tremendous pressure from fans, boosters, the school administration, and the media. The Longhorns finished a disappointing 8-5 and ended the season with a 30-7 blowout loss to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Rabid fans will look for Strong to return Texas to the national powerhouse it once was, but they should have little to fear, given Strong’s experience and ability to recruit. Strong was the defensive coordinator at Florida where they won two National Championships with a smothering defense, and was head coach at Louisville, where he won a Sugar Bowl in 2012 and finished the 2013 season 12-1. Strong should have no issues restoring Texas to a national recognition once more. Strong also benefits greatly from bring directly in the backyard of one the nation’s most fertile recruiting ground when it comes to football talent. While the rebuilding process might take several years, fans of the Longhorns should view the signing of Strong as the first successful step towards making Texas a once again fearsome program.