At his Thursday morning press conference, Charlie Strong formally announced that he would be staying at Louisiville. But what he also did, whether he realized it or not, was show the importance of the relationship between a head coach and an athletic director in a successful football program.
After nine moves in 26 years as an assistant (including four different stays at Florida), it was Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich that gave Charlie Strong
"(Louisville AD) Tom Jurich gave me my first chance to be a head coach," Strong explained. "I had been on short lists, but Tom made it clear I was the only one on his list."
Strong led Louisville to a 7-6 record in his first two seasons at Louisville. After boosting the Cardinals to a 10-2 record and Orange Bowl berth this fall, other suitors came calling. Tennessee, in particular, put a strong effort to lure Strong away.
"When I thought about leaving, I kept going back to 'we haven't finished the job yet.'," Strong explained. "So much has happened in the program and so much has been built in this athletic program because of Tom Jurich."
In case you aren't familiar with the history of Louisville athletics, Yahoo!'s Pat Forde last week detailed just how far Jurich has taken the Cardinals' program. This was a school that needed an intervention from then-Conference USA commissioner Mike Slive from being kicked out of the league. Now, they're preparing for an all-sports move to the ACC.
"He's provided us with everything we need to succeed and he's done that for all of our sports," said Strong.
Jurich is scheduled for his own press conference later Thursday morning to detail Strong's extension. As has become the norm in today's college football, compensation for assistant coaches will be a key factor in keeping Strong in red and black.
"Tom and I haven't even sat down to talk about the details of the contract," said Strong. "I do want to make sure my assistants are taken care of."