Charlie Strong: 'Toughest decision I've had to make' to turn down UT

FILE - This Aug. 10, 2011 file photo shows Louisville football coach Charlie Strong gesturing as he speaks at a news conference in Louisville, Ky. A person familiar with the situation says that the Atlantic Coast Conference's presidents and chancellors have voted unanimously to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland.  The person says ACC leaders also considered Connecticut and Cincinnati over the past week before choosing to add the Cardinals from the Big East.  The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday morning, Nov. 28, 2012 on condition of anonymity because the ACC has not publicly discussed future expansion plans. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

FILE - This Aug. 10, 2011 file photo shows Louisville football coach Charlie Strong gesturing as he speaks at a news conference in Louisville, Ky. A person familiar with the situation says that the Atlantic Coast Conference's presidents and chancellors have voted unanimously to add Louisville as the replacement for Maryland. The person says ACC leaders also considered Connecticut and Cincinnati over the past week before choosing to add the Cardinals from the Big East. The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday morning, Nov. 28, 2012 on condition of anonymity because the ACC has not publicly discussed future expansion plans. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

Calling it "the toughest decision I've had to make in 29 years of coaching," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said he turned down a lucrative offer from Tennessee out of a sense of loyalty to his players and the athletic director that gave him his first chance to be a head coach three years ago.

"As I talked with my family, it became crystal clear that I needed to stay,” Strong said during an early Thursday morning press conference in Louisville.

Strong had emerged as the Vols’ top target earlier this week in the now 18-day search to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired Nov. 18 after three losing seasons.

Strong’s decision has left the next step Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart’s search uncertain.

Strong claimed that he had not agreed to a new contract with Louisville, but would negotiate that with athletic director Tom Jurich later.

Loyalty to Jurich played a big part in the decision, Strong said.

Strong, 52, was a longtime SEC defensive coordinator who had been passed over for several head coaching jobs before being hired by Louisville three years ago. After the Cardinals struggled early in his tenure, Jurich stuck by him.

"I was 9-10, and (Jurich) hands me an extension,” Strong said. “How do you walk away from someone who trusts and believes in you?”

The Cardinals are 10-2 this year and headed to the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2. They move to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014.

Strong said he’s made a long-term commitment to the program with his decision.

"What's happened here, people expect you to walk out,” he said. “I guarantee you 80 percent of the people here thought I was walking out...I don't think I put my career on the line at all by choosing Louisville over Tennessee."

Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Get rapid coaching search updates at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.

© 2012 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 200

kesterja#235578 writes:

Another embarrassing saga...

ColdBlackWind writes:

Next...

sticknmove15 writes:

Who now?

thevoice writes:

Can't blame him. Sounds like a decent, grounded man.

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

Who cares, stay there and play the nobodies and lose to the occasional ranked team you ever play, we don't need your ilk here anyway.

sjagold#565602 writes:

There's something that's not right in all this. Anybody really know?

jimr07 writes:

Charlie.. you are lying... you are very appreciative that UT got you a big raise.

jt45 writes:

He may very well regret this decision some day, my guess is he has doubts about his ability to turn the program around, all the rest is just smoke and mirrors. Its going to be tough no matter who is hired, hopefully Hart will find someone with the confidence to get the job done.
Im glad Strong stayed where he is, if he didnt want a shot at coaching in the SEC then he wasnt the right man for the job anyway.

titansfan1085 writes:

As the World Turns...

dvhill100 writes:

I had loyalty - Translation: If the money is there, I do not care.

Show-me-your-TDs writes:

Sean Payton

Vol86 writes:

I did not like this choice anyway. Stay at louisville. Our team this year would have kick there you fn know what.

wmaze24 writes:

STILL LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER SOMEONE..
WHY HAVEN'T WE TRIED TO INTERVIEW PATTERSON TCU OR PETERSON BOISE ST????

jimr07 writes:

in response to dvhill100:

I had loyalty - Translation: If the money is there, I do not care.

Amen.

arkyvol writes:

in response to sjagold#565602:

There's something that's not right in all this. Anybody really know?

if you believe the dimwits who post, its cause he's a secret muslim, native kenyan, inarticulate without a teleprompter, affirmative action baby, and a commie/socialist who wants to take your guns away to boot.

personally, i'll accept that he's a decent man who made his decision in the interest of his family and his players. he's 52 years old and this is likely his only shot at coaching in the sec and he knows it.

sticknmove15 writes:

Just a question, but is Fedora not an option this morning?

Volsguy writes:

Hire Fulmer! The Chief comes back and maybe keep Jim as well. I don't care what anyone has to say about Fulmer, yes he got a little complacent but I think he realizes hes not untouchable and we would not settle for mediocrity. I mean what is it 151-52-1 and I also think he would be a little wise as to whom he chooses staff wise and we have Chaney to stop the run run punt play calling. There is nobody like Fulmer out there and don't care who tries to call me out, as Les Miles is not coming here nor Spurrier or Saban. Things would change Fulmer knows that and we also get Tee Martin back here as well. I think we work a short term deal as Fulmer would agree to a betcha and if not we hire another in 3 years. Yes we would have to start over in 3 years if it didn't work but there is NOBODY out there I feel could turn it around like us crazy UT fans expect, at least realistically. 2 bad seasons and we fired a guy who bleed orange for people who would less us just as fast for a better offer. Blast away I don't care thats my opinion and you are welcome to yours and no amout of bashing is going to change my mind nor yours. I just think we all can agree we need to get this done and find someone who can actually lead and coach. GBO!!!!

jimr07 writes:

in response to wmaze24:

STILL LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER SOMEONE..
WHY HAVEN'T WE TRIED TO INTERVIEW PATTERSON TCU OR PETERSON BOISE ST????

How do you know we didn't? I understand Peterson has a son with some kind of medical condition and does not want to change his medical care... Patterson is not about to put his reputation on line in the SEC.. he has a good gig now...

DalTexVol writes:

The "sour grapes" on this board are amazing. I shouldn't be amazed, but I am. So what if the guy got a raise out of it. I am sure that he does feel a sense of loyalty to the Univ. that gave him his first opportunity and that he does have a bond with his players.

I am disappointed as I thought he would be a good fit for UT. But so many are criticizing him for his commitment while at the same time we blast Kiffin for his lack of commitment and integrity.

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

We'll have a better idea of why he turned down Tennessee to coach in SEC, soon after Sugar Bowl loss.

bigdisbig writes:

in response to Show-me-your-TDs:

Sean Payton

Sean Payton?
You got 10 million to give this guy and another 5 or 6 million for his staff?

Get real

sticknmove15 writes:

in response to Volsguy:

Hire Fulmer! The Chief comes back and maybe keep Jim as well. I don't care what anyone has to say about Fulmer, yes he got a little complacent but I think he realizes hes not untouchable and we would not settle for mediocrity. I mean what is it 151-52-1 and I also think he would be a little wise as to whom he chooses staff wise and we have Chaney to stop the run run punt play calling. There is nobody like Fulmer out there and don't care who tries to call me out, as Les Miles is not coming here nor Spurrier or Saban. Things would change Fulmer knows that and we also get Tee Martin back here as well. I think we work a short term deal as Fulmer would agree to a betcha and if not we hire another in 3 years. Yes we would have to start over in 3 years if it didn't work but there is NOBODY out there I feel could turn it around like us crazy UT fans expect, at least realistically. 2 bad seasons and we fired a guy who bleed orange for people who would less us just as fast for a better offer. Blast away I don't care thats my opinion and you are welcome to yours and no amout of bashing is going to change my mind nor yours. I just think we all can agree we need to get this done and find someone who can actually lead and coach. GBO!!!!

It's 2012. You may play for Phil Fulmer, but no 17 or 18 year old high school athlete would.

Volsguy writes:

in response to Volsguy:

Hire Fulmer! The Chief comes back and maybe keep Jim as well. I don't care what anyone has to say about Fulmer, yes he got a little complacent but I think he realizes hes not untouchable and we would not settle for mediocrity. I mean what is it 151-52-1 and I also think he would be a little wise as to whom he chooses staff wise and we have Chaney to stop the run run punt play calling. There is nobody like Fulmer out there and don't care who tries to call me out, as Les Miles is not coming here nor Spurrier or Saban. Things would change Fulmer knows that and we also get Tee Martin back here as well. I think we work a short term deal as Fulmer would agree to a betcha and if not we hire another in 3 years. Yes we would have to start over in 3 years if it didn't work but there is NOBODY out there I feel could turn it around like us crazy UT fans expect, at least realistically. 2 bad seasons and we fired a guy who bleed orange for people who would less us just as fast for a better offer. Blast away I don't care thats my opinion and you are welcome to yours and no amout of bashing is going to change my mind nor yours. I just think we all can agree we need to get this done and find someone who can actually lead and coach. GBO!!!!

Yes I am tired and didn't proof read oh well. You get my point;)

jimr07 writes:

in response to Volsguy:

Hire Fulmer! The Chief comes back and maybe keep Jim as well. I don't care what anyone has to say about Fulmer, yes he got a little complacent but I think he realizes hes not untouchable and we would not settle for mediocrity. I mean what is it 151-52-1 and I also think he would be a little wise as to whom he chooses staff wise and we have Chaney to stop the run run punt play calling. There is nobody like Fulmer out there and don't care who tries to call me out, as Les Miles is not coming here nor Spurrier or Saban. Things would change Fulmer knows that and we also get Tee Martin back here as well. I think we work a short term deal as Fulmer would agree to a betcha and if not we hire another in 3 years. Yes we would have to start over in 3 years if it didn't work but there is NOBODY out there I feel could turn it around like us crazy UT fans expect, at least realistically. 2 bad seasons and we fired a guy who bleed orange for people who would less us just as fast for a better offer. Blast away I don't care thats my opinion and you are welcome to yours and no amout of bashing is going to change my mind nor yours. I just think we all can agree we need to get this done and find someone who can actually lead and coach. GBO!!!!

Why won't you Fulmeristas go away. He is part of the problem we face today.. The national championship was 14 years ago.. please look at 2000-2008.. how many top ten teams did we beat?

BigBadVol writes:

A chance to be a head coach in the SEC and you say no? Be honest. It's more about being afraid to play against the big boys.

acworthdave writes:

Strong complained about fan support earlier this year. Even if you are really good (like this year), enjoy those half empty stadiums when the likes of Wake, Duke, UNC, NC State come rolling into town in a few years. Here is a hint Charlie, you are at a basketball school. Heck, you are in a basketball state. The Bear was smart enough to realize that and get out of there. You will too one day.

orangelamb writes:

in response to jt45:

He may very well regret this decision some day, my guess is he has doubts about his ability to turn the program around, all the rest is just smoke and mirrors. Its going to be tough no matter who is hired, hopefully Hart will find someone with the confidence to get the job done.
Im glad Strong stayed where he is, if he didnt want a shot at coaching in the SEC then he wasnt the right man for the job anyway.

totally agree!

VolAtUGA11 writes:

Say it with me kids:
Kirby...............................................Smart
Kirby.....................................Smart
Kirby..........................Smart
Kirby.................Smart
Kirby..........Smart
Kirby.....Smart
Kirby Smart (wasn't that easy?!)
Instant headline: UT Coaching Hire Smart, Not Strong
(even a dead copy editor could think of that)

Vol86 writes:

in response to sticknmove15:

It's 2012. You may play for Phil Fulmer, but no 17 or 18 year old high school athlete would.

Why wouldn't someone play for him. I just read he was put in the hall of fame. Oh! I forgot kids these days do not read.

Volsguy writes:

in response to jimr07:

Why won't you Fulmeristas go away. He is part of the problem we face today.. The national championship was 14 years ago.. please look at 2000-2008.. how many top ten teams did we beat?

Then who do you hire since you are of a great football mind???? 151-52-1 thats pretty impressive to me and once again you make better staff choices. You need to go away as you are sitting on a message board with me and not coaching anywhere I see either nor are they asking for your opinion. We always had backs who could run and a D that was not an embarrassment and integrity, and someone who LOVED to be here just got to comfortable. There is NOBODY out there dude, nobody.

cdamna1 writes:

Maybe we didn't offer him a $5 million/ year buy-out if he failed.

sticknmove15 writes:

in response to Vol86:

Why wouldn't someone play for him. I just read he was put in the hall of fame. Oh! I forgot kids these days do not read.

Hall of Fame means he was good in the PAST. Losers live in the past. Football is a different game now than it was in the mid to late 90's, and if you don't see that, then you probably have no clue about football.

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to arkyvol:

if you believe the dimwits who post, its cause he's a secret muslim, native kenyan, inarticulate without a teleprompter, affirmative action baby, and a commie/socialist who wants to take your guns away to boot.

personally, i'll accept that he's a decent man who made his decision in the interest of his family and his players. he's 52 years old and this is likely his only shot at coaching in the sec and he knows it.

good job arky; your description of Obama is spot on! Thanks for interjecting some politics on a football message board, azz_clown.

OrangeBloodFlood writes:

This is so embarrasing,especially when surrounded by Ala. & Ga. fans.Hart dropped the ball,he should have known this was the LAST thing UT needed....to be made a laughing stock of again.Maybe we need to clean house! Auburn and Ark. beat us to the punch"I've done this many times" my arse,Hart took this long and these are the results!Can anyone say apathy ?

Volsguy writes:

in response to Vol86:

Why wouldn't someone play for him. I just read he was put in the hall of fame. Oh! I forgot kids these days do not read.

Amen!!!! I guess the same reason they played for Dooley and Kiffin. Who wants to play for a Hall of Famer?! Thanks Vol86 some people are just delusional.

Hound_Dog69 writes:

in response to sjagold#565602:

There's something that's not right in all this. Anybody really know?

It doesn't hurt to ask a head coach from another school if they want the job at UT, but if the guy loves his job and the community where he is now, why would he leave? There is nothing wrong with the UT job, it just that the guys hart is asking are happy where they are, coaching programs that they have built up and have have been successful at. Why hasn't hart interviewed Petrino, Butch davis or jim tressel? their all proven head coach's for major programs and currently available. What Hart is doing is the equivalent of a single man try to talk a happily married woman into leaving her husband, instead of going after a single woman or a woman who wants a divorce from her current husband!!

Vol86 writes:

Was a the BB game last night in C'vill, va. There 20% ut fans there. Who would not want to coach for ut. This clown is not worth it, lets move on.

st8of10ec writes:

The boosters need to take Dave Hart out of the equation & take over the coaching search,& if Hart doesn't like it start a AD search as well!

bfowler1161#262198 writes:

Loyalty? Guess the 2.3 million a year plus buyout doesn't buy loyalty anymore huh Charlie? I don't really blame you for taking the 4.1 plus buyout. But be honest, you get to play in a weak conference so making the BCS is easier and you get to be one of the highest paid coaches in the country. You are not loyal you are a mercenary.

I think Strong is a good coach and would have done well at UT. Now he is doing well because of UT. So let's move on to other pastures. David Shaw, Fedora, Mark Hudspeth, Patterson should all be on the list.

orange_eVOLution writes:

Please get Pelini's face off this web site.

VolBall18 writes:

Go get CHAVIS as HC and PETRINO as OC! Instead of looking for an iffy Head Coach, why not invest in two pure SEC coaches to take the helm. Look at the defensive players who would come just for Chavis and the Offense that Petrino could mold.

st8of10ec writes:

One name I haven't heard mentioned is Chris Petersen from Boise State.He's gone as far as he can go there,& might welcome the chance to run with the Big Dogs in the SEC.

sticknmove15 writes:

Probably won't happen, but man I'd love to get David Shaw. We'll probably end up with the OC at Riverdale High School though.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

in response to sticknmove15:

It's 2012. You may play for Phil Fulmer, but no 17 or 18 year old high school athlete would.

Bill Snyder at Kansas State disagrees.

Vol86 writes:

in response to sticknmove15:

Hall of Fame means he was good in the PAST. Losers live in the past. Football is a different game now than it was in the mid to late 90's, and if you don't see that, then you probably have no clue about football.

A different game? WTF are you talking about. Yeh different kids too.

lomas98 writes:

in response to wmaze24:

STILL LOOKING FOR AN ANSWER SOMEONE..
WHY HAVEN'T WE TRIED TO INTERVIEW PATTERSON TCU OR PETERSON BOISE ST????

How we would know that anyway....oh, I know, we all have sources right? We haven't interviewed Peterson for the same reason nobody else interviews Peterson. He is happy and not accepting interviews. Who knows about Patterson, these guys have agents who tell folks if they are interested or not interested in a job that is open. You don't just go an interview someone....it takes mutual interest.

HooRay_Vol writes:

HELP WANTED: The University of Tennessee is seeking a head football coach for a full time position. Duties include losing to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Missouri and occasionally Kentucky. No experience necessary. Must be willing to travel. Losing coaches will be bought out so you can get paid without having to do any work for several years after you are gone.

To apply, contact Dave Fart immediately!

jt45 writes:

in response to jimr07:

Why won't you Fulmeristas go away. He is part of the problem we face today.. The national championship was 14 years ago.. please look at 2000-2008.. how many top ten teams did we beat?

How many have we beat since he was let go ?

superman81 writes:

I am a die hard Vol fan but this is not good for UT's image. We are becoming the laughing stock for CFB. Schools all around us have found a coach but for some reason no coach wants this job. We are going to settle for another Dooley and going to hae 3 more years of 5-7. I think some high ups in UT land need to walk Mr. Hart and company out the door.

Volsguy writes:

in response to sticknmove15:

Hall of Fame means he was good in the PAST. Losers live in the past. Football is a different game now than it was in the mid to late 90's, and if you don't see that, then you probably have no clue about football.

Yeah cause man do we future stud coaches lined up at our door steep. I mean seriously maybe Sticknmove we should hire you then with your vast knowledge of the game. Spurrier shouldn't be winning either as he was a winner in the late 90's and since the game has evolved so much he lucky to be employed at this point. Fulmer made some bad hires moron he knows that we all know that, and thats why I said a short contract offer as it couldn't get any worse. Do you feel powerful insulting people over the internet because you share a different opinion than others. I think you seem to be the loser as I liked the stability we had and the players we had year in and year out. And yes I think player would want to play for Fulmer as he put lots of them in the NFL even in his 2000 years.

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