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Why I Want Texas to Keep Charlie Strong

It’s about more than character, recruiting, or staffing; it’s about how doing things the right way sometimes takes time.

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Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I’ve got a two-and-a-half year old son named Willie Mo. We live about a mile from UT, and one of our favorite ways to hang on the weekends is with him in a seat on the handlebars of my bike while I cruise around campus. I sing Willie Nelson songs to him and point out buildings where I went to class in the eighties, and he shouts “Bevo!” when he sees longhorn silhouettes on street signs and UTPD cop cars. We call it “going to look at colleges.”

He figured out the significance of fall Saturdays early. On game days we ride to a tailgate just south of the stadium, and as we wind through the sea of Horns fans walking in, a nascent awareness of community bubbles up out of him. “That’s lots of orange,” he’ll observe. When we get to the tailgate, friends who might as well be family holler, “Willie Mo, you made it!” and sneak him sweets he doesn’t get at home. One Saturday we arrived early enough to see the band and players walk down 23rd Street to the stadium. He was especially impressed with the trombones and Malik Jefferson’s hair. But since he has nothing near the attention span required to sit through games, we head home to watch them in the basement and eat pizza. It’s become a ritual for us. If he sees a football game—any football game—on TV, he’ll stop everything and yell, “Look, the Bevos!”

Charlie Strong had been the Horns’ head coach for five months when Willie Mo was born in May 2014, a fact that didn’t much matter to me at the time. I scarcely went to games as a student and almost never as an alum; I used to joke that I’d never noticed any football players rooting for me when I took tests, so why the dumb, blind allegiance? At the 2006 Aggie game, which Texas Monthly sent me to cover for a possible Colt McCoy profile, I fell asleep in the press box.

My mind took a turn when I became a dad. I thought about all the games I’d watched on TV with my father. That was our time. As a kid I lived and died with the Horns, had Earl Campbell posters on my wall and a special desk drawer for cherished items like the Erxleben and McEachern autographs I’d gotten at a charity basketball game they played at my middle school. I remembered an elevator ride my dad and I once took with a quiet, older man and how, when we arrived at the ground floor and the stranger got off, my dad held me back and then said with great reverence, “That’s Coach Royal.”

When Willie Mo was born I started watching the Longhorns through his eyes. Coach Strong made headlines that summer and fall—and caught a good amount of flack—for dismissing players, some of whom had been significant contributors. A narrative emerged of a culture of entitlement that had brought the program down in recent years. Whether that was accurate or not, a corollary storyline developed of a new coach with a clear set of standards that his players had to meet. The core value of Strong’s that leapt out at me was “Treat women with respect.” When two of his players were charged with sexual assault after being accused of raping another student, both were suspended indefinitely. One player was acquitted after mounting a defense that the sex was consensual. The other player then saw his charges dropped. Neither player was invited back to the team.

There’s no doubt that some of the banished players and disgruntled transfers could have helped a 2014 team that limped to a 6-7 finish, topped off by an embarrassing Texas Bowl drubbing by Arkansas. But then a funny thing happened. Strong secured a top 10 recruiting class anyway. Stellar athletes were buying what he was selling. The 2015 season was even more disappointing, a 5-7 slog featuring gut-wrenching nail-biters that seemed given away, inexplicable blowouts, and no bowl game. Yet last winter, Strong finished in the top 10 in recruiting again.

And then came this season. No Horns fan is satisfied with our record. But every defeat but one went down to the wire. Of course that’s nothing to trumpet when you’re a storied program and one of the losses is to Kansas. But still it indicates real progress. This is a team making strides squarely in the right direction—and a shockingly young team at that. The defense, which completely turned itself around once Strong took the helm, starts eight sophomores. The offense, which mixed flashes of brilliance with predictable hiccups under first-year coordinator Sterlin Gilbert, is anchored by a true freshman quarterback taking snaps from a true freshman center and throwing to a receiving corps featuring just one senior. So many of the mistakes that hurt this year’s team can be chalked up to that youth—the overconfidence after the 2-0 start, the skittish play of the defense as the roof seemed ready to fall in midseason, the bonehead penalties that extended opponents’ drives and killed our own. Strong’s Longhorns were green and often played like it.

Using youth as an excuse will not help Strong’s cause, but all those underclassmen point to the real reason UT should bring him back. With 37 of 44 players on the two-deep chart slated to return, next year’s team will be ready to break out. Strong has loaded the program with monsters, players that will almost certainly wind up All-Conference, and possibly All-American and high NFL draft picks: Jefferson, Shane Buechele, Breckyn Hager, Charles Omenihu, Malcolm Roach, Connor Williams, Zack Shackelford, Chris Warren III, Collin Johnson, Michael Dickson. It’s interesting that with all the criticism dumped on Strong in recent weeks, no one’s taken issue with his assertion that next year’s team will win ten games no matter who is coaching. If he can bring in a special teams coordinator on par with Gilbert, Strong would be the best bet to pull that off, given how much his players love him. That would put the Horns back in the top 10. And the recruiting classes he’d amass after returning Texas to the national conversation would be terrifying. He’s built the foundation for a long run of the excellence that Horns fans expect.

That is the reason to retain him. It’s not that he deserves a fourth year to see his first recruits through to graduation. It’s not that he runs a clean program or that he focuses so intently on the character of the kids and getting them diplomas. Football is about winning, and at UT that means national championships. Charlie Strong will win them.

So even with all the noise this week about how UT has already decided to make a change, I can still imagine sitting at DKR ten years from now with Willie Mo and his little brother, Leon, watching a team coached by Charlie Strong. One of my boys will ask for the story again about how Coach Strong once suffered through losing seasons and almost got fired. I’ll tell them how the first three years were indeed tough, but that Strong knew who he was and what he was doing, that he didn’t take any shortcuts or compromise his principles to build his team. The lesson will be that doing things the right way takes time, and the proof will be on the field.

It’s a lesson my sons would benefit from, as could a generation of athletes who’d play for Strong in the meantime. And it’s one that the big-money boosters intent on driving Strong out should be considering now.

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  • ssc

    If he were getting paid a couple hundred thousand dollars to be a life coach and guidance counselor, this article would be spot-on. Instead he gets paid $5+ million a year to win football games and championships. He’s an abject failure as is evidenced by the actual results on the field: 16-20 after 36 games, the worst winning percentage in the history of the football program. For $5+ million a year, that is not acceptable in any universe. Sorry.

    • Steve M

      Spot on SSC! Is this for real? Hey Mr. Spong, we just lost to Kansas… at the end of year 3. It’s over.

    • borgerboy

      ssc….is it an embarrassment that you can do either? truly afraid of what you could do to an 18 year old guidance counselor! Damn strange that the players feel of this” abject failure” !!

      • NinjaMountie

        Players can love playing for a coach that isn’t successful…happens all the time. It’s called loyalty. Yes, it’s getting more rare these days but it’s still around.
        SSC is right. Strong will land somewhere and hopefully he’ll do better.

    • Hyrum Clarke

      I agree 100%. He is paid to coach football.

      I also dislike the position taken by the author. Don’t we expect all coaches to hold their players to some sort of standard? Don’t coaches lose jobs when they lose control of players? Since when did we have such a low standard for coaches that a guy running a cleaner program gets a pass for losing to Kansas?

      • Micah Atkins

        Please name a coach who’s appreciated by his players to this degree? You’ll have to find a coach who’s been a fixture in the program for decades. Keep in mind, they’ve gained this kind of admiration in 2 YEARS. To act as if this is so clear cut is to ignore the details. The standard you’re talking about is non-existent and convenient to you’re own position/opinion. Plus,….if wins is all that matters then PAY THE PLAYERS ALSO. Sounds fair in this financial world of results. Agreed?

        • griffor513

          so we should be proud of players who are happy to lose to Kansas? Texas has one of the richest football programs in the country that money is not giving to give free education to kids so they can lose games

        • Hyrum Clarke

          Yeah, they sure appreciated him, didn’t they? Couldn’t win must-win games against very flawed opponents, even knowing that his job was on the line and that wins could save him.

          It’s great that he’s not a mean guy, but that should be a MINIMUM standard – not the standard which mandates that a losing coach in one of the top 10 college coaching jobs should be retained.

    • Micah Atkins

      That would be true IF they didn’t pay 11 million for him to restore recruits for 2 years and implement a new culture within the FB program, ….just to fire him a year before his contract was up. So, it would seem, that he was paid to “care about the boys/future men who were also student-athletes”. If the money were such a determining factor, why throw it away and add 10 million for the newest flavor of the coaching carousel? Funny how everyone forgets the reasons for Mack’s ultimate dismissal. He won 9 games that year. Back then it was about the program and it’s recruits. Now it’s wins and success that surpasses the contracts expectation. Gimme a break.

  • Scott

    Mr. Spong. You can not be serious. Charlie has the worst record in UT history
    and lost to Kansas. We ran off Mack for winning 8/9 but are going to keep Charlie
    for winning 5/6 LOL.

    He does less with more and needs to be shown the door ASAP.

  • MLC

    Thanks for this. Beautifully written. Maybe it’s largely a woman thing because a number of my friends have shared this on social media — all of them women. Almost every female fan I talk with wants to keep Coach Strong. No other coach of a major program has taken such a definitive and no-excuses stance on the treatment of women. It’s bigger than the Win/Loss column. I get it, I get it, I get it — he’s paid to win football games. I truly believe he will. God Bless Charlie Strong — on this Thanksgiving Day I give thanks for him and the integrity he’s brought to our program, especially considering the filthy winning program 90 miles north of us.

    • Hyrum Clarke

      No, it is not bigger than the win/loss column. Why in the world do you have such a low standard for coaches? Every coach should hold their players to high behavioral standards. Every. Single. One.
      Building player character is a necessary condition to being a good coach, not a sufficient one.

  • Kevin Ross

    Its as if these people cannot read. Read the words, people!! They have meaning!! Tom Herman and Kevin Sumlin killed good coaching with their “instant success” seasons. Forget the fact the A&M is a trainwreck in the locker room, and UH is a house of cards. UT has a guy who wants to do it right, but it just isn’t fast enough for the instant gratification and entitled Longhorn fans of today. Unbelievable.

    • NinjaMountie

      Saban had one bad season with Alabama and has continued success since. It can be done. Texas has the kind of recruiting power to get it done.
      I like Strong but I think UT would be correct in moving on from him. The media and his lack of success will make recruiting much more difficult. They need a new coach that can excite the prospects.

      • Charles Allen

        Texas should have a season as bad as Nick Saban’s first: 7-6 with a bowl win.

      • Micah Atkins

        Huh? First off Saban came in and had one of the elite recruiting classes and has stayed there ever since. Strong was tasked with a complete overhaul and even dismissed players who were expected to be the only potential gamers on a team with no draft picks. And the overwhelming opinion on Charlie’s two recruiting classes was a major over-achievement (with top 5 rankings). No one thought it was even in the realm of possibilities to restore that level of recruits, while attempting to rebuild a program’s culture in regards to football players and mindset. The support and feelings of betrayal being expressed by the entire team, commitments and even some 5-star possible signings (who eliminated Texas within hours of the firing) is representative of his success. You couldn’t have been more wrong in that statement. Unfortunately, the real work and extremely difficult tasks that Strong tackled in a impressive fashion, aren’t valued as they should be.by the average entitled fan base who thinks our university attracks elite talent based on name alone. Truth is, they only follow that pattern when the program is winning. When players attend and play for a school who’s rebuilding, ……..they do so because of their belief in the coach. Speaks volumes

        • NinjaMountie

          Look, UT hadn’t exactly had horrible draft classes when Strong took over. 2010 they were ranked 3, 2011 they were ranked 3, 2012 they were ranked 1, 2013 they were ranked 23, 2014 they were ranked 15th.
          Strong was tasked with WINNING games. The two low recruiting classes came during transition which is to be expected. It’s not like the cupboards were bare when he got there. He failed….period.
          I’ve never said I didn’t like the way he handled the discipline within the program. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was his coaching on the field. When you have coaches around CFB shaking their heads and making statements that they can’t believe how poorly he’s done with the talent he has, then you know there is a problem.
          Of course there will be de-commits after a head coach is let go. There will also be others that sign because of the new coach.
          Now as a past recruited FB athlete I can say for a fact that there are certain programs that have a recruiting edge based on name, facilities and exposure….Texas is definitely one of them.
          Strong will land on his feet and I wish him success where he ends up.

        • NinjaMountie

          Saban’s draft classes before he showed up:
          2006 was 18, 2005 was 15, 2004 was 19, 2003 was 45

          2007 was 22. I know he got there in 07 so I added that one.
          So how did Saban have more than what Strong started with?

    • Hyrum Clarke

      For a smaller program, that might fly. But it’s not as if character development and good coaching are mutually exclusive. When Texas looks around and sees guys like Jim Harbaugh turning around a very bad Michigan team in only one year, or Chris Petersen doing the same thing with a mediocre Washington team (again, in one year), patience understandably wears thin.

      • Micah Atkins

        Harbaugh inherited an experienced team with huge talent on defense, lineman on both sides of the ball, and a stable of running backs. The schedule, for that year, was against only 2 teams ranked higher than 40th, and they got both teams at home. So, let’s stop with the constant Harbaugh comparisons that would’ve been the exception to the norm when it comes to early coaching struggles. Not to mention, …Strong was hired as the 4th choice with the expectations of completely rehauling the players and culture of the FB program. At that time, there wasn’t any mention of becoming a 9 -10 game winning team, especially with players unworthy of draft or combine consideration. And lastly, …..if he were “expected” to meet the miracle making standards so many fans use as an excuse for their impatience, ……then his contract would’ve reflected that opinion. BUT IT DIDN’T. That’s why the early firing cost over 10 million. Heman is a good coach who I would gladly support as our next coach, if we didn’t already have one in place that deserved to coach a team that’ he recruited/developed (in the right way). By the way, isn’t Herman’s popularity and reputation of today, nearly identical to strong? Over-achieving at a program, to the surprise of just about ever one?

        • Hyrum Clarke

          Strong might not have had national championship talent, but he also didn’t have losing season talent, either. He underachieved with that team, no other way to look at it.

  • Danielle

    This is not a Texas magazine, a more appropriate name would be Yankee Monthly for this trash!

  • BigKahunaOC

    Yes Charlie may have laid the foundation for the future. But others must build the House. I went to the Texas-Alabama national championship game a few years ago. We got hammered as the Tide rolled. That started a long fall from excellence. While it can be a benefit to have time to do things, that is not how the world works. John Spong is a good writer but the life lesson for little Willie Mo to learn and benefit from is not that doing things the right way takes time. What business, what endeavor, what employer will willingly give years to someone to get a quality job done? The lesson to be learned is that you must perform to your maximum ability all the time – to help your business, your sport, your country, whatever endeavor you happen to be part of. If I don’t perform, if sales does not meet it targets, if engineering does not provide quality, if CEOs cannot grow the business then in short order everyone gets fired. Stand and deliver. That is the message little Willie Mo needs to learn for life. While I understand Spong’s message and intent, it is not whole, it is necessary but insufficient. Strong’s time a Texas and the skills of his players and coaches were long enough to at least have a winning record each season. One year down OK. Things happen. But several in a row? Adios if you are in virtually any business. Texas needs a fresh new start. One more thing. The Washington Post’s John Feinstein and others should knock off the racial bias thing. The true measure of equality is when everyone can succeed or not on the merits of their ability to perform. Long time booster Red McCombs is a great man and benefactor to our great University. He wants to see Texas family be the best in any endeavor – on and off the field. He has been maliciously assaulted by the Washington Post’s biased viewpoint. Not unlike another business icon who is trying to Make America Great Again and who employs tens of thousands of hardworking dedicated people of all racial and religious backgrounds. Stop it. Charlie Strong is a good guy. But performance counts. This has nothing to do with race. True equality demands he go. Just like Mack Brown and that Alabama game and afterwards. And other white coaches before him. Move on from defeats, rebuild quickly, and succeed. Stand and deliver. That’s the life lesson little Willie Mo needs to take to heart. The clock is always ticking. For all of us. Go ‘Horns!

    • RickSantelli

      Appreciate your passion about couldn’t disagree more with your view of how the world works. It usually takes time. There are exceptions, like Michigan and Washington, but those situations were also nicely “teed up” by talented underclassmen who were about to hit their stride as the new coach was coming in. In reality, when you have a systematic problem like the lack of discipline and focus on the UT football team (which mirrors the slacker culture that I feel across Austin), you bring in someone to solve that problem so that the other advantages like a huge budget and brand name can play their role. Charlie was slowly solving the problem. This team had a middling season with some ups and downs, but they are a young team with growing chemistry as evidenced by the way they are standing behind their coach. I think they would be the Big 12 favorites going into next year. Not sure it makes sense to blow that up.

  • richintexas

    Nobody has mentioned that Charlie Strong was hired for five years. He’s on his third year. What does a five year contract mean nowadays anyway? You aren’t enjoying UT games even those played down to the last second? Take it from a Cubs fan; even losing games are wonderful when you love baseball.

  • RickSantelli

    The so-called “fans” (who wouldn’t pass for fans anywhere outside of Austin, the City of Low Standards) calling for Charlie’s head are not thinking this through. Ask any of them why he should be fired, and all you will hear is the tired old platitudes. “We don’t expect 6-6”. “Results matter”. “You can’t lose to Kansas”. Do these sound like people who care? People who’ve actually taken the time to analyze the situation? People who realize that this is a big decision, that the football coach can ideally be the face of a program for decades?

    It’s a big decision. It deserves more real thought than people are giving it. Why did the team decline in Mack Brown’s final years? I would argue it’s because they got lazy in thinking that all they had to do was recruit the best athletes. They forgot that there are 20 other elite programs nationally who will eat your lunch if you don’t also develop strength, skill, discipline and chemistry. So the coaching quality declined, and then the recruiting declined too.

    So those are the problems. How has Charlie done in solving them? Highly debatable. But I would argue that he’s done quite a bit. He has brought in good classes the last few years, indicating an improved image of the program. The article says it all, 37 of 44 are underclassmen. Discipline, character . . those are vague things to measure but the guy has certainly built a good reputation in terms of who he is, and you see it in the team’s reaction to the news this week that he connects with the players.

    The results on the field so far are undeniably disappointing but if you are a true fan you owe it to yourself to think more critically about what is happening here, what are the different ingredients to building a successful program long term. I think Charlie is still arguably putting those ingredients in place and the program is probably best off giving him another year with the guys he brought in.

    • Jack McDonald

      I appreciate the view expressed here and think that you make good points, especially regarding the culture in Austin and the maginitude of the decision facing the UT Administration. I grew up in Boston and am a lifelong fan of the Boston teams. People are rabid there and very dedicated to their teams. The fans in Austin aren’t close to that level, and also have another crucial difference from Boston fans: They are far too optimistic about their chances. Its not debatable whether Charlie has fixed the problems that doomed Mack: He hasn’t. A 16-20 record demonstrates as much. Charlie has made some crucial mistakes. The first was his choice of coordinators. Shawn Watson was questionable as an OC from the start, and should’ve been let go after the disaster that was 2014. When it was time to fire him, Strong almost couldn’t close the deal with Sterlin Gilbert. Judging from how badly the offense played his first two years, it’s very clear that Charlie doesn’t know how to coach an offense. Now Strong has had to take over the defense, and it’s not clear why Vance Bedford is even there. Strong has been too loyal to his original hires.

      Another big mistake that Charlie made was failing to get a QB or even develop one. It’s one thing when you have an NFL QB like Teddy Bridgewater, but you have to be able to win without an NFL level QB. Charlie hasnt, and it’s not like the talent wasn’t there. Swoopes and Heard both 4 star QB’s who would thrive in a better offensive system (Herman’s). Part of this is obviously on Watson, but the whole reason Watson was even in the picture is because of Strong.

      As for the recruiting, I’m not a fan of his style- really waits until late in the process to sign guys- but I like the results. However, these results aren’t different from what Mack was doing; in fact, they are a bit worse. Spong mentions it in his article, but the media spun this wild narrative that UT had no talent when Strong arrived. This simply isn’t true. 2011 recruiting class was #3, 2012 class was #2 and the 2013 class was #24. That’s more than enough talent to be successful-much more than Tom Herman has-and yet Texas somehow has gone 6-7, 5-7 and now 5-6 with those players.

      Lastly, we have the in-game decision making. It’s bad. Real bad. Take in point this recent Kansas game. Facing a 4th and 5 w/ a little over a minute left, Strong elected to go for it at the KU 35 yard line. That’s a decision that you make if you are tying to lose. The probablily of picking up a 4th and 5 is probably around .5 But it was only a 3 point game. Failure to pick up the first down means that KU only had to go 40 yards or so to get in FG range. Why not punt, pin them around their 10, and make them go all the way down the field to tie the game? This is an obvious decision, but was shockingly lost among the UT coaches (media hasn’t brought it up either because they have been so preoccupied with his job status). But it was astonishing to watch.

      All of the above is magnified due to the fact that Tom Herman is out there, and wants to come to UT. I’m lucky enough that I graduated from UT and now go to UH. I have watched UH the last two seasons and they are the real deal. They would beat this Texas team by 14+ despite not having close to the level of talent. I’m not sure how much of UH you have seen, but they dominated OU and then destroyed Louisville. What has been Strong’s dominating win? The truth is he hasn’t had one. He has pulled off a couple of squeakers against Baylor and upset OU last year by 7, but Texas dominates no one and is often manhdanled by the opposition (Arkansas, TCU last two years, ND last year, Ok State this year). This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get Herman, who is 22-3 at UH, and UT simply cannot let it get away. I have no doubt that Strong can win 9-10 games, but he definitely isn’t a championship coach. Look at those types of coaches: Saban, Meyer, Harbaugh, Pete Carroll, Jimbo Fisher, even Les Miles. Did those guys go 16-20 in their 1st 3 seasons? Absolutely not. Good coaches get the most, even more, that their players have to offer. Herman is able to do that, Strong isnt. I think Charlie is a great guy and a defensive wiz, but as a HC he isn’t the guy. Have to make the move to Herman; UT has nothing to lose at this point as they are only giving up a coach that hasn’t had a winning record. I wish Mr. Strong and his family all the best.

      • RickSantelli

        Many good points. Herman, though, probably won’t be an option with the recent news. Interesting decision by UT to have the meeting to fire Strong last Sunday (according to reports), and then not make the decision official. Now with Herman off the market, if UT beats TCU tomorrow things get pretty interesting. Especially if it’s a decisive win.

  • Rudy Garzq

    And what if he doesn’t win next year…or the year after…NOTHING he has done in three years suggests he knows how to put a inner on the field in Austin. Would he bet his $5.5M in the last contract year against guaranteeing 10 wind next year? I highly doubt it if players love their coach then go out and BEAT KANSAS! See ya Charlie! Great guy…horrible football coach!

    • donuthin2

      And you are exactly typical of what is wrong with college atheletics

  • Schmidty

    As a college volleyball coach for the last 20 years (most of it spent at the DI level as a head coach and assistant) I couldn’t agree with this article more. Fans, alums, boosters and sponsors forget there are young women and men on the other end that you effect by crying when your college team isn’t living up to “your” standards. But, maybe just maybe, it’s God’s plan to work through coaches to develop outstanding young men and women who will be future leaders, fathers and mothers and role models, among other positive positions in society. There is nothing; no play, no decision, no risk, nothing in sports that has a 100% success rate. It’s all a risk, every decision a coach makes is a risk. Some risks have a high percentage rate of success, some far less but possibly looking for the surprise element for gain, but no risk is guaranteed! As a coach, every decision I make is heavily scrutinized by those off the court who have hindsight to prove their point. Those who whine and complain believe they always have the right answer despite their very limited knowledge and experience…despite no scouting report and understanding of the opponent’s capabilities…despite not understanding what goes on in the huddle or in practice…despite the lack of walking in the coach’s shoes and so on. Even as a coach for over 20 plus years I can speculate and critique coaches from the outside, but even I know there are many elements of the game even the most experience cannot see from the sideline. And yet, we want to listen to these loud fans, alums, boosters and sponsors because they’re angry over the fact they are unable to say to their friends and others, “my team is better than yours” or make a bigger buck off of the success! I understand there is big money in college football and basketball, believe me I see it every day and my young ladies, your daughters, don’t. But that’s the problem with college sports, it’s more about the pride and money than developing outstanding student-athletes. We are still under the umbrella of “education”; after all, it is the UNIVERSITY of Texas, not ‘athletics’ of Texas. And education goes well beyond the field or court! I’m not a fan of UT football (it’s funny how I live in a state where UT is a different school and I argue with the locals all of the time the real UT is in the state of Texas despite my dislike for the program), but I am a fan of Charlie Strong and what he is doing at UT. I hear a lot of comments among my peers about coaches from all sports including statements on Strong, yet what I have heard about him are things I wish more college football coaches would strive to be like. His first priority is his student-athletes. He doesn’t put winning at all cost first over mentoring a young man, which can be easy to do because of the pressures, stresses and lack of compassion often experience from those on the outside who aren’t pleased that their needs of their favorite college team winning aren’t being met according to their standards. Plus, it takes longer than three years to change out one system and replace it with a new system Strong wants to put in place…but that’s another can of worms for another day! Remember, only one team wins a national championship and a handful of teams win ten or more games. Again, it’s a UNIVERSITY, not ‘athletics of’. Keep Charlie Strong! He will take UT football to a respectable level!

    • Micah Atkins

      Finally, some points made with reason and (easily forgotten) respect to the student-athletes. Oops,…I mean unpaid student athletes……….

  • Fantasy Maker

    Strong is toast. He was never the right coach to begin with as Red McCombs presciently said 3 years ago

    • Micah Atkins

      Oh, so Red McCombs is the Great Oz now. You might want to look into Reds possible reasons for never wanting Charlie as the face of UT Football……………

      • Fantasy Maker

        McCombs was right- Strong was never the right coach for this job. He was in way over his head, but of course play the race card since that is all you know.

  • Paul Stekler

    Nice article John. It’s a sad day at UT.