Texas names Charlie Strong coach

Updated: January 6, 2014, 5:30 PM ET
By Max Olson | ESPN.com

A new era in Texas football began Sunday when the Longhorns announced the hiring of Charlie Strong from Louisville.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson praised Strong in a statement released Sunday afternoon as "a man of great integrity, with a wonderful family, who is well respected inside and outside the game."

"Our committee and former lettermen helped create an extensive selection criteria and after visiting with Charlie, it was clear he met them all," Patterson said. "He led championship defenses as an assistant, a resurgence at the University of Louisville with double-digit game winning seasons, and twice been selected conference coach of the year."

Strong, 53, replaces Mack Brown after 16 seasons. He arrived in Austin on Sunday afternoon and will be introduced at a Monday news conference.

"To follow a future Hall of Fame coach like Mack Brown, who built a program that had great success and a reputation of doing it with class and integrity, is extra special," Strong said in the statement. "The National Championship, BCS Bowl wins and all he accomplished in 16 years built on the Longhorn legacy and makes it such an exciting place to be."

Strong will be the first black head coach of any men's sport in school history. UT president Bill Powers called it "a historic day for The University of Texas and a historic hire for our football team."

Strong takes over the Longhorns after four years at Louisville, his first head-coaching job. During his tenure, the Cardinals went 37-15, won two conference titles and an Allstate Sugar Bowl victory over No. 3 Florida last year.

[+] EnlargeCharlie Strong
AP Photo/Timothy D. EasleyCharlie Strong took over a Louisville program coming off three straight non-winning seasons. The Cardinals have gone 37-15 in four years since.

Strong was named Big East Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012, and led Louisville to a 12-1 record and a 36-9 victory over Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28.

"This was a difficult decision because the University of Louisville gave me my first opportunity as a head coach," Strong said. "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."

Under Strong's tutelage, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater developed into a potential No. 1 overall draft pick and defensive end Marcus Smith earned All-America and AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Nine more Cardinals earned All-AAC honors this season.

He inherits a Texas program that went 8-5 and 7-2 in the Big 12 in Brown's final season and lost to Oregon 30-7 in the Valero Alamo Bowl. After a 1-2 start to the season, the Longhorns won their first six Big 12 games and would've clinched an outright conference title with a victory over Baylor in the regular season finale.

Brown resigned on Dec. 14 and finished his Texas career with a record of 158-48.

"Coach Brown developed such a strong bond with his players, the lettermen, community and high school coaches in this state, and that's something I hope to build on," Strong said. "He made everyone feel at home."

In a Sunday news conference, Louisville's Jurich said Strong exceeded every expectation in his four years as head coach but could not turn down a chance to lead the Longhorns.

Max Olson | email

Texas/Big 12 reporter

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