Strong to Louisville on hold, perhaps Notre Dame?

By Adam Silverstein
December 2, 2009

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong could very well be the next head football coach for the Louisville Cardinals. But don’t expect any talks to begin until after this weekend, as University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich has halted his pursuit of a new coach until after said candidate’s team has finished playing. Jurich’s patience is noteworthy and commendable, though he will be forced to seek out a replacement before bowl games commence and will likely begin speaking to Strong a day or two after the 2009 SEC Championship game.

Strong’s agent, Nathan Whitaker, told the Courier-Journal that he has yet to be contacted about the Louisville opening. One dark horse candidate for Strong’s services may very well be the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as pointed out by a dedicated OGGOA reader named Travis who took some time out to tell us exactly why.

Travis finds it curious that Strong’s name has not yet surfaced in regard to Notre Dame’s opening. It may be a long shot, but not nearly as big of a long shot as you may think. With a report today stating the Fighting Irish are considering Connecticut Huskies defensive-minded head coach Randy Edsall, here are a few things to consider:

Five reasons Strong-to-Notre Dame may be in the cards…after the jump…

  • Defense
  • – ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Notre Dame wants a coach with a “defensive resume.” If true, Brian Kelly (Cincinnati) may be out of the running.
    – Gary Patterson (TCU) may be a name that comes to mind, but he has been quoted as saying he has seen “way too many moving vans in his lifetime”…and he just inked a new deal.

  • Not in serious contention for top names
  • – Notre Dame is no longer a top 10 job in many people’s minds. Among other problems, the Fighting Irish have severe recruiting disadvantages in comparison to other top programs. Yet the fan base expects them to compete at the highest level year-in and year-out. This is not attractive to names like Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Urban Meyer, Will Muschamp (Texas coach-in-waiting), etc., who are all in great situations. It may have been a dream job long ago but not anymore.
    – The job will likely have to go to someone in a much shakier situation, someone currently out of coaching or an up-and-comer.

  • Urban Meyer connection
  • – If you covet Meyer but can’t have him, why not consider a guy who has worked for him for five years and grown his resume with experience in the “Meyer way?”

  • Notre Dame connection
  • – Strong worked as a defensive line coach at Notre Dame from 1995-1998. At a school and program as unique at this one, from booster and media interaction to recruiting and beyond, it is undoubtedly a positive to hire someone who has spent some time there.

  • Money
  • – Strong currently makes $310K in base salary. There may be some competition for him from Louisville and others, but he is unlikely to command anywhere near the salary, contract length and guarantees that the other names currently being thrown around would command.
    – While Notre Dame has plenty of money, how much can they get away with spending with from a public relations standpoint? Can they continue offering the huge guarantees necessary to draw the top names, especially in light of the gargantuan buyout they are stuck paying to Weis?

One thing that seems to be an inevitability in all of this is that Strong will no longer be with the Gators when the 2010 season rolls around. And it is about time. As much as Strong means to Florida and as much as he has done for the program and its players, he has been deserving of a head coaching job for a long time and is finally garnering legitimate interest from major programs. Best of luck to coach Strong.


  1. Emory and Henry says:

    Those are good points, but after getting burned by a non-head coach, wouldn’t Notre Dame try to get someone with HC experience?

    Also they may not be a dream job anymore, but due to their NBC contract and special treatment by the BCS, they are still a desirable position for a coach looking for a challenge and the recognition that he brought Notre Dame back.

    It’s also nice to replace a failure rather than a legend (see: Ron Zook).

  2. All good points made by you as well…there are definitley two sides to the Notre Dame job.

  3. Aligator says:

    honestly, what if strong got a fat raise and stayed here that is plausible as well. i think he is a great coach, but i do not think he will be a great head coach. He also wants to go to a place that can win. he does understand defense and how to attack an offense, but i do not think he can pull the whole thing off.

  4. In addition to his defensive prowess, Strong is also an excellent recruiter. Those two things combined make him a very attractive head coaching candidate and someone who can certainly succeed if he brings along the right offensive coordinator. As to the Gators giving him a raise, Strong deserves to make at the very least double of what his current salary is paying him. Florida could offer him a big raise to stay, but two things would have to happen: (1) the raise would have to be comparable to a low D-I coaches’ salary, (2) the head coaching offers would have to not be very attractive.

  5. Kaveh0915 says:

    A more important question might be, who is our defensive coordinator going to be if Charlie Strong takes one of these head coaching jobs?

  6. Mr2Bits says:

    I really hope all of this is speculation at least until after signing day as I think we will lose some recruits if he takes off

  7. Kaveh – either Chuck Heater or Dan McCarney, though I assume one would go with Strong to be his defensive coordinator/asst. head coach.

  8. Kaveh0915 says:

    Adam, those were the only two current assistants that came to mind for me as well. Any chance that we look outside the program?

  9. Always a possibility. However, Heater and McCarney are both deserving. We already lost Mattison two years ago to the Baltimore Ravens.

  10. Aligator says:

    I think that McCarney would stay to be with a better D1 Program, Heater may go because it would be a move to get his feet wet as the coordinator, but do not be surprised is strong goes if he doesn’t call the d himself.

    on another note, unless something crazy happens we should have dan mullen back here in a couple of years. he may have some decent success, but i really believe him to be a florida head coach in waiting type in a couple of years.

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