Charlie Strong chooses loyalty over opportunity in the “big leagues”

NCAA Football: Louisville at Connecticut

If you watched Charlie Strong’s press conference this morning, it was clear that his loyalty to Louisville – specifically athletic director Tom Jurich – played a key role in Strong choosing to remain at Louisville over accepting an offer to become the next head coach at Tennessee.

“He gave me my first chance to be a head football coach after being an assistant 27 years,” Strong added. “I was always on everybody’s short list (of head coaching candidates), but Tom let me know from the very beginning I was the only one on his list.”

For years, Strong was considered a top candidate for a head coaching position and was passed over a number of times. Jurich gave Strong his first opportunity, and he has not wavered in his commitment to Strong.

Many fans forget that Jurich actually gave Strong an extension mid-way through his 2nd season at Louisville despite a 7-6 season in 2010 and a 2-4 start in 2011.

Through the pursuit of Strong in recent weeks, Jurich has remained just as steadfast pledging to match whatever offer in an attempt to keep him. It worked.

Perhaps, it was the years of being passed over that reminded Strong just how committed Jurich has been to him that made Strong want to, in a sense, re-pay Jurich by staying put in Louisville. Perhaps the Tennessee job just isn’t what it once was. Or, maybe it’s a bit of both.

You can’t fault Strong for turning down the Vols. If he has a good situation that is fulfilling professionally and personally, who are we to say he made the wrong decision?

Meanwhile, Bret Bielema made comments today about how all coaches want to eventually get to the SEC and coach in the “big leagues.”

Well, maybe not everybody.

Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports



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  • I think that Charlie Strong deserves an “attaboy”. Anyone who keeps up w/ Vol football should respect Strong….. he didn’t let the $$$ and short-term fame cloud his judgment. I think Butch Jones will look back on this decision in a few years (as did Dooley), only to say “WTF was I thinking ?”

  • Dude is afraid to play in a real conference. Overpaid, under challenged. Louisville sucks.

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