Updated on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Former Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals for the last four seasons, officially accepted the same job with the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night.
According to SI.com, Texas and Strong came to an agreement on a five-year deal worth approximately $5 million per season.
Horns247 first reported Friday that Strong decided to take over for Mack Brown, who coached the Longhorns from 1998-2013, and the school officially announced his arrival on Sunday with a press conference scheduled for Monday.
A respected defensive mind who spent 16 years as an assistant at Florida, Strong became a head coach for the first time in 2010 and has led Louisville to a 38-15 record (23-3 over the last two seasons).
“I’m excited and my family is excited to have the chance to lead one of the premier football programs in the country,” Strong said in the Texas press release announcing his hiring. “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. It’s special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football.”
He added: “This was a difficult decision because the University of Louisville gave me my first opportunity as a head coach. I have so much respect for President [James] Ramsey and [athletic director] Tom Jurich. They have been great to me and my family, and it was very hard to say goodbye, but they know this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Strong served as a graduate assistant with the Gators from 1983-84, outside linebackers coach from 1988-89, assistant head coach and defensive tackles coach from 1991-94, and defensive coordinator from 2002-09. He worked under Charley Pell, Galen Hall, Gary Darnell, Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Urban Meyer at Florida and also served as interim head coach for the 2004 Peach Bowl (L 27-10).
When Meyer briefly retired following the 2010 season, athletic director Jeremy Foley hired Will Muschamp, then the defensive coordinator and head coach-in-waiting at Texas, as his replacement.
Strong, who was not interviewed for the open position at UF and felt he was passed over for the opportunity (both then and following the 2004 season), now takes the job that Muschamp would have received had he stayed in Austin, TX.
Just last season, Strong’s No. 21 Cardinals earned a decisive 33-23 victory over Muschamp’s No. 3 Gators in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
According to a note in The Gainesville Sun, Strong semi-privately expressed how much defeating Florida meant to him that night.
After the game, Louisville coach Charlie Strong, a longtime UF assistant, hugged a member of the national media and said, “That’ll teach them for not hiring me.”
Four years after being passed over by Florida, Strong takes over another top-tier collegiate job. He will earn more than $2 million than Muschamp in 2014.
Photo Credit: The Independent Florida Alligator