Charlie Strong went into the Kansas game already on the hot seat. So, after Texas lost to Kansas for the first time since 1938, it’s no surprise rumors are swirling about his employment status.
During the press conference coach Strong was asked about his future, and he had a hard time hiding that this season is likely the end for him in Austin.
The most painful part of the Strong post game presser.
“Do you know what this means for your future?” pic.twitter.com/MRNuTko8au
— Casey Keirnan (@CaseyKeirnan) November 20, 2016
It’s heartbreaking to watch, because coach Strong is a good coach in a bad situation, but maybe coach Strong didn’t just know that he will probably be fired, what if he knew, knew.
Tom Stokes, producer of Sports Plus TV, is reporting that the Longhorns have pulled the trigger, and have fired coach Strong.
— Tom Stokes (@SportsPlusShow) November 20, 2016
If that report is true, it wouldn’t be that surprising. Texas is just one win shy of bowl eligibility. Should they beat TCU, a game that is winnable for the Longhorns, firing coach Strong before the bowl game could get awkward. However, if you let him go now, you give a shot to an interim coach to go get a win and get to a bowl game.
However, it looks like Strong might not be done just yet. Yahoo’s Pat Forde and ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, two of the most respected in the business, immediately rebuffed the Stokes report as false.
I am told by multiple sources this report is incorrect. Strong has not been fired. Tomorrow is another day, of course, but not now. https://t.co/0eRT6hQwpD
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) November 20, 2016
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 20, 2016
If the reports of his firing are indeed false, it seems to be a case of just delaying the inevitable.
***** UPDATE *****
ESPN reported on Sunday night that Texas has fired head football coach Charlie Strong.
“The decision to part ways with Strong became inevitable Saturday night, after Texas (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) lost 24-21 in overtime to a Kansas team that was 1-9 and had lost its past 19 Big 12 games.
Texas began this season with a dramatic 50-47, double-overtime victory over a preseason top-10 Notre Dame team, a feat that moved the Longhorns from unranked to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll. But that game did not prove to be a turning point for the program; the Fighting Irish are struggling at 4-7.”
However, that was immediately rebuffed by Texas athletic director Mike Perrin. Perrin released a statement saying that no decision on Strong’s future with the school had been made, and none would be made until after the season.
“There are a number of rumors out there about the status of Coach Strong. I’ve said it all along, we will evaluate the body of work after the regular season. We have a game to get ready for against TCU on Friday, and I hope our fans will come out and support our team. We’ll discuss where things stand after that.”
So the game of is or isn’t coach Strong fired continues, but as we said before, at this point it would appear to be a matter of when, not if.