Jurich couldn’t said no to Strong even as he was leaving

So why did Tom Jurich fly back from Colorado on Saturday?

Strong apparently wanted to meet with TJ, interrupting his vacation, forcing Jurich to fly four hours to get back to Louisville. Most  envisioned Jurich making a last minute offer to someone said to be having a difficult time making a decision.

Jurich and Strong had been in touch as the names kept dropping from the Texas coaching search over four days, presumably Tom doing and saying everything he could during that time to keep Charlie at Louisville.

Media and fans waiting all day Saturday for the outcome, wondering if Strong was torn between the two programs, anticipating a possible turnaround similar to last year’s coaching drama.

However, Jurich said Charlie Strong had already made up his mind when he arrived at Strong’s house that evening. Possibly it was because Strong wanted Jurich to be the first to know his decision. Or maybe Strong wasn’t sure he could say no to Jurich until after the fact.

When asked Sunday why he flew all the way back when he already knew what Strong was going to do, Jurich replied,  “I knew he wanted to see me face to face, and I give the man a lot of credit for that.”

Jurich was the man, remember, who over four years had never said no to anything Strong needed or wanted to improve the program.

Rearrange the seating, move the band and hundreds of fans at Papa John’s? Expand the football office and strength rooms? Put the program in jeopardy by accepting a show cause and keep Clint Hurtt on the payroll? Allow a troubled football player to transfer to UofL after numerous offenses? Commission a feasibility study to close in the North end of the stadium even though the AD has other ideas?

No problem. You got it, coach.

Jurich still couldn’t say no to Strong, making the long flight even when he knew the coach was on his way out the door. It could be said that everything Jurich has done over the past four years he had done partially in anticipation of this day.

The coach, however, was unable to reciprocate when confronted with the ultimate choice of staying or leaving.

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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.

1 thought on “Jurich couldn’t said no to Strong even as he was leaving”

  1. I think it was good that Strong wanted to talk to Jurich in person. When I’ve left one firm for another, I always felt it was best to talk to my boss/supervisor in person rather than via e-mail or the phone. I think Strong deserves some credit for that. I think CS should have flown out to Colorado to meet Jurich but the truth of the matter is Jurich needs to be back in Louisville right now. We would be blasting him with both barrels if he stayed in Colorado for another week to finish his vacation while the athletic department is searching for a key employee.

    I feel like a lot of people are angry at about CS leaving, but we have to remember he is an employee and we would not have shown him loyalty if he had not been winning. No one was upset about not keeping Ron Cooper or Steve Kragthorpe for a fourth season. The reason coaches don’t show loyalty to programs is because programs no longer show loyalty to them. Ask Mack Brown – he was just “fired” after 16 seasons.

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