Down 31-9 to TCU as the final seconds ticked off the clock, everyone around the 40 acres knew that they were watching coach Charlie Strong for the final time. For the second straight year the Longhorns finished 5-7, and the push to replace strong was simply too much for the administration to ignore.
Maybe, just maybe, had Texas beat TCU, Texas president Greg Fenves could have made a case for keeping Strong, but that didn’t happen, and on Saturday Fenves and the school made it official. Coach Strong has been fired by Texas.
“It’s a very difficult day for me, my family and all of the people affected by this decision.” Strong said in a statement on Saturday. “I’m most disappointed for these kids and our staff who have poured so much of their lives into this program for the last three years. I do understand that it comes down to wins and losses, and we have not done our job in that area yet. I accept full responsibility for that, but know in my heart that we accomplished our primary goal, which is the development of young men. We have had a positive impact on our campus and the community, and I’m proud of how our team is focused on earning their degrees. We were developing something really special. This program has a championship foundation built on great young men with tremendous character. There are very bright days ahead, and I’ll be pulling for these kids no matter where I am. I want to thank everyone who supported me and this program for the last three years. I don’t regret coming to Texas. I learned a great deal and grew as a person in my time here. I’ll miss the opportunity to lead this program going forward, but I’m ready to accept my next challenge.”
In Strong’s three seasons in Austin he finished 16-21, and failed to produce a single winning season. However, coach Strong was successful in other areas. When he came into Austin he cleaned the program up, dismissing several players in his first year, and by all accounts has set the program up for long-term success. Texas is a young team with plenty of talent, and whoever inherits the program will get a program on a solid foundation. It’s a good thing too, because Texas’ next coach will be expected to win, and win early.