An article that included first impressions from TX high school coaches was published by an ESPB blogger last night. The article stemmed from Coach Strong's first opportunity to interact and speak with HS coaches at a coaching clinic in San Angelo.
Observations from Strong's 20-minute speech were reported negatively, siting that Strong delivered a message that would be more appropriate for boosters than coaches. I few quotes from coaches in attendance included"I think everyone was shocked. It was that bad," followed by "If I was the coach at Texas, I would act like I had bigger balls than that." Apparently "putting the 'T' back in Texas" among other cliches were not impressing the Texas HS coaches. It was pointed out that a loud guffaw was heard across the room at the close of Coach's speech.
It was also noted that Coach Strong's comfort level in social situations was confirmed by him arriving just before his speech, and leaving just after. This was also viewed negatively and some of the coaches felt slighted, including Wade Phillips, one of the leaders at the clinic. His brief visit to Angelo State resulted in some remarks like "He obviously didn’t want to be here. If he did, he sure as hell didn't show it." There were also some coaches who understand how these types of opportunities can either help or hinder recruiting efforts. When asked about the recruiting effect Strong's limited access had on the coaches, one said "It ended up being good for Art and Kevin. How does that happen?"
In fairness, the blog mentioned that Strong got back on course and delivered some final thoughts that might have had a positive impact on the coaches. Coach invited the HS coaches to the UT campus and did not hide from the challenges ahead. His last few remarks were"We are the premier university in this state. I know you’re all watching to see what happens. We have some work to do. We’re going to get that done because of the staff we have."
There will be a lot more chances for Coach Strong to have positive interactions with Texas HS coaches in the future. This one was an apparent miss for him, but let's hope that his true gift (of coaching) speaks volumes on the field.