So now the debate begins.
Texas has made the decision to part ways with Charlie Strong after three years as the Longhorns head coach. An overtime loss to a bad Kansas team a couple of weeks ago made it practically “mission impossible” for Strong’s return next season. The 31-9 loss to TCU on Friday sealed the deal.
Now, Texas is expected to hire Houston’s Tom Herman as the new head coach for the Longhorns. Herman was 22-4 with the Cougars and is also a former graduate assistant under Mack Brown in Texas. At first it seemed like Herman was ticketed to take over at LSU, but reports surfaced that talks eventually broke down and the Tigers will instead remove the “interim” tag from head coach Ed Orgeron.
Although the writing was on the wall in Austin, there are many who felt Strong should have at least had one more chance to make things right. Strong’s commitment to his players and the changing of the culture in the football program did win over the hearts of some, and his players loved playing for him. Plus, Strong did have one of the top national recruiting classes going into the season. However, after the loss to TCU, it seemed more like Strong was saying goodbye during his press conference than reflecting on the game, as if he knew time had run out in Austin.
“I came here for many reasons,” Strong said after the game. “I came here to win a national championship, and I came here to change lives.” He also added “Next year, I want to come back.”
The only problem was Strong had a 16-21 record and three losing seasons in Austin. His .432 winning percentage was the worst in school history. The bottom line at Texas is winning and playing for national championships, and Strong wasn’t getting it done. Losing to Kansas in football was seen as unacceptable for the Longhorns.
“I do understand that it comes down to wins and losses, and we have not done our job in that area yet,” Strong said in a statement released on Saturday. “I accept full responsibility for that, but know in my heart that we accomplished our primary goal, which is the development of young men.”
Texas let go of Strong despite the remaining two years left on his contract, with $11 million guaranteed. It will also cost the school millions to get rid of the assistants who also had guaranteed contracts.
No matter what the win-loss record was, Strong had a major impact on his players at Texas.
“We love that man,” said linebacker and Mesquite Poteet alum Malik Jefferson about Strong. “He’s made us better players and better men, of course, on and off the field.”
Written by C. James