The Texas Longhorns introduced Charlie Strong as the school’s new head football coach Monday. School president Bill Powers pronounced it a “historic day for the University of Texas.” Clayborn, the former NFL Pro Bowler who was one of eight black UT players in 1973 called it “a very big deal.”
Strong is the first black men’s head coach in school history. When asked how he feels about the historical accomplishment, Strong didn’t want to think of it that way. “I’m a coach and that’s how I want to be treated,” he said.
“Texas is one of those places that is always on your radar and a program anyone would dream of being a part of because you have a chance to compete on a national level every year,” said Strong, who will be formally introduced at a news conference Monday. “It’s special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football.”
Strong compiled a 37-15 record in four years at Louisville, including a 23-3 mark over his last two seasons. He reportedly has a five-year, $25 million deal and will take over for Mack Brown, who won the 2005 national title and finished as the school’s second-winningest coach in his 16 years.
Strong talked to Brown on Sunday and told him, “You’re a man of integrity and character. What you’ve built here, I want to build on it.” Strong added that Brown will “always be welcome” in the program, but added, “You ran your program, I have to run mine. Coach Brown left this program in great condition. It’s still about recruiting, building on tradition.“The bricks are there. I just need to put another brick on top of it.”
“This is a wonderful day for the University of Texas,” UT president Bill Powers said. “We wanted a coach who can win, and Charlie’s done that, and we wanted a coach who can win with integrity.
Strong’s hiring also symbolizes a historic milestone for Texas by making him the first black head coach of any men’s team in school history. But Strong’s appointment will be largely symbolic if it is not paired with real changes at the university, such as recruiting more African American non-student athletes, said Ben Carrington, a Texas sociology professor and member of the Men’s Athletic Council.
“This marks a significant shift taking place at the university and in the state of Texas,” Carrington said. “It’s just a shame it took four decades to take place.”
At the press conference, Strong said he will recruit hard within Texas’ borders and instill a culture of mental and physical toughness into his players – all within the rules of the game.
“At end of the day, it’s all about winning,” Strong said. “It’s about developing young people, and it’s about doing it the right way.”