Tom Jurich's track record at Louisville says he will have Charlie Strong's replacement in 5.2 days or less.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – This won't take long. Five days or less.
That's my prediction on the over/under of how many days Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich will need to find his replacement for departing Cardinals' football coach Charlie Strong.
That's not a number I pulled from Jurich's red windbreaker during his press conference Sunday. The man has known for several days that he was likely to lose Strong to Texas. Jurich always has a list of guys he likes. Always. Several days in Colorado gave him ample time to refine that list.
My over/under is a number based Jurich's past performance chart when he recruited the first four guys he has welcomed into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Average number of days Louisville has gone without a football coach: 5.25.
Longest Jurich coaching search: 9 days between the 2009 dismissal of Steve Kragthorpe and hiring of Strong from Florida.
Shortest Jurich coach search: 2 days when Bobby Petrino exited and Kragthorpe followed after the 2006 season.
For the record, the gaps between Ron Cooper and John L. Smith in 1997 and then between Smith and Petrino five seasons later were both five days.
This won't take long. Jurich is a decisive, confident guy. He's wired into the college football world, knows the hot upcoming personalities and strategists. He watches as much football as any athletic director in the business and has strong, informed opinions on the guys doing the best work.
An offensive guy? Smith, Petrino, Kragthorpe were. Strong was not.
A guy with head-coaching experience? Two (Smith, Kragthorpe) had it, but the other two lacked it and Petrino and Strong went a combined 78-24 here with seven bowl appearances.
Jurich knows there are many ways to do this, as long as you find the right guy. His record doing that is 3-1.
Jurich knows how to sell Louisville. He's been here for more than 16 years. When Jurich says that the grass is greener here, it is more than a sales pitch. This is where he's built his reputation as one of the top administrators in the game without chasing other opportunities.
Think about this: When Jurich hired Smith from Utah State on Nov. 24, 1997, he signed him to a five-year deal worth $375,000 per season -- $150,000 for coaching, $150,000 for his work in broadcasting and another $75,000 in deferred compensation.
When Strong departed for Texas Saturday night, he was ranked the 10th highest paid coach in the nation at more than $3.738 million. That's more than the head coach at Oklahoma State. Or South Carolina. Or Georgia. Or Penn State.
Consider it evidence that when Jurich says he considers this one of the top 10 jobs in college football, he intends to give Strong's replacement every tool to ensure that is more than simply a catchy marketing phrase.
As successful as Louisville has been during Strong's 23-3 run with two bowl victories the last two seasons, Jurich knows the job has only become more appealing and demanding.
There are many reasons that Jurich has already heard from dozens of coaches and agents representing coaches who are interested in the position. Strong's replacement won't have to listen to the four annoying words – Louisville doesn't play anybody -- that have dogged the program for so many years.
Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame and others crackle onto the schedule next season as the program continues its overall upgrade into the Atlantic Coast Conference. Putting programs like that trio into the rotation will not only pump more adrenaline into the game-day experience, the ACC and its improved bowl tie-ins are one of the best perks that a new coach can sell in recruiting.
Did I mention recruiting?
You have to mention recruiting. Strong was a superb coach. One thing he did better than even Petrino or Smith at Louisville was recruit as if his annuity depended on that.
Strong quickly built a staff with remarkable connections into Florida and it wasn't long before you saw guys like Teddy Bridgewater, James Burgess, Terrell Floyd, John Miller, Eli Rogers, Keith Brown and others landing in Louisville, not one of the signature programs in the Chinstrap State.
As much as the next Louisville coach will be judged by the tempo that his offense plays or by his ability to build a formidable defense, the new guy will have to present a reasonable recruiting plan that he can execute.
We'll all know that plan soon. Tom Jurich's track record says we will likely know it in five days or less.