What Charlie Strong accomplished as Florida defensive coordinator has been well documented. While he rose to prominence under Urban Meyer, his ties to Gainesville go back to 1983.
I had a chance to catch up with Strong for a piece on his connection to Gainesville, and why the opportunity to coach the Gators kept pulling him back time after time -- for a total of four stints in all. He worked under five different coaches, and even stayed on when Meyer took over, despite having to share coordinator duties. That move paid off, as he helped win two national championships.
In essence, Strong knew that Florida was going places, and Florida could get him places. After a long wait, he finally got his head coaching opportunity at Louisville and now gets to face his former team in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2. But as much as folks like me want to make this about Strong going against so many familiar faces, he told me:
"I don't want to turn it into a bit about me," Strong said. "I want it more for our program, because it would be great for our kids."