Louisville AD met with Strong, job not offered (yet)

By Adam Silverstein
December 7, 2009

Named by numerous inside sources as the front-runner for the Louisville Cardinals head coaching job last week, Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong sat down for a meeting Sunday night in Gainesville, FL, with Tom Jurich, the school’s athletic director. Jurich, who waited to contact his Florida counterpart Jeremy Foley and then Strong until after the 2009 SEC Championship, said last week that he wanted to “get the program rolling” but not “be a disruption to their program.”

As OGGOA reported on Wednesday, Jurich was prepared for a lucrative counter offer from the Gators to keep Strong as their defensive coordinator and left the meeting (which was “several hours” long) feeling one was on the horizon. “We’ve got a little more work to do,” Jurich told ESPN’s Pat Forde after meeting with Strong. “I know Florida wants to keep him. I was very, very impressed by him,” he said. “He’s a quality guy.”

However, Jurich left the meeting without officially offering the job to Strong, though he will continue discussing it with him over the next few days. Jurich also told ESPN that he was given a noteworthy recommendation of Strong by former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. “Not a bad recommendation,” Jurich said.

Should Strong leave, it will be the second time in as many seasons that the Gators have lost a coordinator after the SEC Championship game with former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen being hired as the Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach in 2008. Assistant defensive coordinator/safeties coach Chuck Heater and assistant head coach/defensive line coach Dan McCarney would be the leading candidates to replace Strong should he accept the job. One of the two could join Strong as his defensive coordinator wherever he winds up, and rumors have begun that Strong plans to bring Florida wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales along with him as his offensive coordinator should he take a head job.

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