Two Texas news outlets are reporting that Charlie Strong will leave Louisville to become the next Texas football coach.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Despite multiple reports that Charlie Strong will be the next football coach at the University of Texas for a five-year contract worth $25 million, Strong has not told the school that he is officially leaving for that job.
"He has not accepted the job yet," the source said.
U of L officially said today that Strong has not made a decision, and said that while Strong spoke with Tom Jurich after midnight on Friday night (Saturday morning), the two have not met face-to-face because Jurich is facing commercial travel issues returning from a vacation in Colorado. He said there is no timetable for a decision, or a Jurich-Strong meeting.
A source told WDRB that Strong notified Jurich of the Texas offer late Friday, but told Jurich he had made no final decision. He met with his coaching staff this morning and told coaches that he is still undecided. The entire staff was present at this morning's meeting.
A source with knowledge of the negotiations told WDRB's Rick Bozich that Strong is truly conflicted, and that it isn't questions over assistant coach Clint Hurtt or money that are causing him any kind of problem.
"I really don't think he knows," the source said. "He's trying to decide. I think he'll talk to people he trusts, like Lou Holtz."
Another source told WDRB's Eric Crawford that Hurtt is a sticking point. Hurtt, who received an NCAA show-cause penalty for his role in recruiting violations at Miami, was given a provision to keep working at Louisville by the NCAA. Any other school that wants to employ him, however, would have to make a case for why it should be allowed to do so before the NCAA's committee on infractions if it wishes to hire him.
No announcement was scheduled, and assistants left the U of L football complex this morning without speaking to media.
Two Texas sources, Bobby Burton of 24/7Sports and Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com, reported late Friday night that Strong would replace Mack Brown as the UT coach. Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated reported that Strong was the pick to replace Brown and that he would be paid $25 million over five seasons. Brown was forced out of the position in December after 16 years (and one national title).
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Strong had been offered the job, but that no decision had been made. The paper that said Alabama coach Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher of Florida State were no longer being considered. Art Briles of Baylor and Jim Mora of UCLA were also out of consideration. James Franklin of Vanderbilt appeared to be the back-up choice, if Strong declined the offer.
Strong is believed to have spoken with U of L athletic director Tom Jurich last night.
Jurich did not return a phone call or text message requesting comment. Strong also did not return a text message.
Strong just finished his fourth season with the Cardinals, where he led the U of L to back-to-back bowl victories. Strong turned down Tennessee in December 2012 to return to U of L and lead the Cards to a 12-1 record and a victory in the Russell Athletic Bowl. His four-season record at U of L is 37-16 with appearances in four consecutive bowl games. His signature quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, announced on New Year's Day that he will skip his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. He is expected to be a top pick.
Only five seasons ago, Strong appeared to be a career assistant at Florida, who was turned down for the head coaching jobs at Minnesota and California and could not get an interview at Mississippi State.
One source close to Strong and his staff told WDRB's Rick Bozich that among Strong's frustrations at Louisville was a poor crowd at the program's Senior Day game against Memphis, which turned out to be Teddy Bridgewater's final home game as well. The announced attendance of 46,421 was, by most estimates, larger than the actual number, and the source said Strong mentioned that game specifically as a disappointment.