Charlie Strong and a commitment to Louisville football

Time spent at a university, with coaches, associates, friends and fans all pulling toward common goals should never be taken lightly and should mean a great deal to all individuals involved.

Fortunately at the University of Louisville, we have an individual like Charlie Strong, a college football coach, a person who takes these values seriously. A person one can trust when he states that he appreciates his athletic director or embraces the school and the community. Rare, indeed, in the college football world, which has been turned upside down in recent years by continuing scandal, recruiting violations, conference realignment scrambling and greed.

Especially at U of L, which has seen more than its share of football coaches using their position primarily to better themselves, using the program as a stepping stone, merely a means to achieve what they perceive to be bigger and better things. One coach, in particular, was set to take the program to a higher level but put himself first, moving to an SEC school, failing to appreciate what he had here.

Despite Bobby Petrino’s success, using people and schools that way rarely works out as planned. Just ask Howard Schnellenberger, fired after one season at Oklahoma, or John L. Smith, who, after four seasons at Michigan State and latching on with Petrino for a couple of years at Arkansas, has landed at Weber State.

Having pursued a head coaching job for 26 years, Charlie Strong was finally given that opportunity at U of L on Dec. 7, 2009. At one point in that introductory press conference, he came close to admitting his frustration, almost wondering out loud if it would ever happen. With his wife and two daughters standing nearby, Strong expressed his appreciation to Tom Jurich, athletic director, and James Ramsey, U of L president, for making his dream come true. Then came the choking up, the near tears, several seconds of silence, and then a broad smile.

Strong knew that Louisville was taking a chance with him, but that comes with any new coach. He also knew that other schools had turned him down for other reasons. But it was U of L that was putting its program in his hands. He was grateful, and he wasn’t going to forget.

The success he’s had during his first two seasons is nothing less than phenomenal, indicating that Charlie Strong is an exceptional head coach. He’s the right man for the job in many more ways than winning on the field, a role model in a day when good role models are difficult to find. We believe Strong recognizes that he has a chance to build an elite program.

We also believe through his actions and continued commitment to U of L that he has an opportunity to create a lasting legacy for himself in a way that few football coaches would recognize, much less undertake, others choosing to rely on an existing brand and tradition to exalt themselves. We’ve dreamed of having the football program in the hands of someone like Charlie Strong for decades, and we believe we have him.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “Charlie Strong and a commitment to Louisville football”

  1. Well said, Charlie. What a breath of fresh air Charlie Strong is. He deserves everything good that comes his way.

  2. Great article. I truly think Coach Strong wiil take us to the next level in the evolution of Louisville football. I also think he will retire here as beloved as Denny Crum is and even though we have had some great coaches in our history, Charlie Strong will be the name that will be remembered over all that came before him. Again great write up.

  3. I hope our days of being a stepping stone program are finally over. Are Louisville fans ready to fall in love with a coach again? Risk another broken heart like a jilted bride to be? Or are we just gonna wait for his expected departure? Gosh, I hope he’s the one.

    If Charlie stays, I predict we will name buildings after him and build statues that carry his likeness (move over Johnny U). He could be Louisvilles’ version of Joe Pater……STRIKE THAT….he could be Louisvilles’ Knute Rockne.

  4. I have gone on record saying that Charlie Strong will become (is) the “Denny Crum” of U of L Football.

    He will resist offers from “better” programs (like Denny did with UCLA), he will take Louisville to a NC (that’s National Championship for you noobies), like Denny did. He will retire and have the field name after him, like Denny did.

    CCS is a loyal man with the character not normally associated with head football coaches.

    When he says he has a job is is not looking at another…I for one…believe him.

    I have faith in TJ and CCS to make Louisville Football into a nationally recognized power like, TCU or Boise State.

    Then we can tackle LSU and Alabama.

    Ultimate goal…playing Florida in the Rose Bowl for the National Championship…and winning!!!

    Go Cards!

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