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Report: Texas “Very Close” To Firing Charlie Strong At End Of Season

The clock is ticking on Charlie Strong in Austin.



Getty Images - Tom Pennington

Removing Vance Bedford from his defensive responsibilities may not be the only coaching move the Longhorns are looking to make. Sports Illustrated released a report Monday morning that claims the Longhorns are ready to fire Charlie Strong at the end of the season if things don’t drastically improve. Even then, it could be too little, too late.

From the SI article:

“A high-ranking Texas official said on Sunday night that Strong is “very close” to losing his job at the end of the season after back-to-back road losses to Cal and Oklahoma State. The official said that there will be no move made during the year on Strong. Part of that comes from the fact that there’s no logical candidate on the staff to take over the program.”

It is a little odd that an unnamed Texas official is talking about letting coach Strong go just hours after it was reported that Strong will be taking over the defense. Why make the move now if Strong is a dead man walking? Typically, sacrificing a coordinator is a move made to buy more time, and as has already been reported, Texas isn’t planning to fire Strong mid-season.

Well, SI may have shed a little light on that as well. According to their source, there is a power grab going on behind the scenes as athletic director Mike Perrin is “overmatched in his current job”.

“Texas has been an administrative mess for years, and there’s no immediate end in sight. Athletic director Mike Perrin is a bright man and an accomplished lawyer. But he has no practical athletic department experience and is overmatched in his current job. With Perrin acting as a placeholder, there’s been a mad scramble for power under him, which has caused administrative upheaval and congestion that’s made it a difficult working environment for coaches. Instead of athletic department employees focused on helping coaches win, there’s a feeling at Texas that they are more concerned about their own power.”

If coach Strong is indeed let go from Texas at the end of the season, SI lists Houston coach Tom Herman as their leading candidate to replace him.

Herman, who is currently 18-1 at Houston and has the Cougars at 6th in the AP Poll, will be a hot commodity at the end of the year. He’s also thought to be one of the leading candidates for the LSU vacancy, and if the Auburn, USC or Oregon jobs open up, they’d probably be interested in Herman as well.

Texas is thought of as the number one job in college football, but could the mess within the hierarchy of the Longhorns turn off top candidates, especially in a year where there could be plenty of top jobs to choose from?

The only thing more embarrassing for Texas than finishing 5-7, would be having multiple coaches turn them down. Something they got a taste of when they struggled to lure offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert away from Tulsa.