The Texas Longhorns will announce the hire of Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong to the same position at Texas on Sunday and hold an introductory press conference on Monday, according to multiple reports, including those from Orangebloods, ESPN, USA Today, and CBS.
As the afternoon progressed, the reasons for the delay in the announcement became more apparent after it appeared Friday night that a Saturday morning meeting between Strong and his assistant coaches would signal the end of Strong's time with the Cardinals.
With Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich in Colorado on vacation and stuck there because of bad weather, Strong didn't have a chance to do his athletic director the courtesy of siting with him face-to-face.
And Strong's players are currently out of town and scheduled to make it back in on Sunday evening for a meeting that had already been scheduled. It seems Strong also wants to do them the courtesy of telling them of his decision.
Commendable choices, both.
Of course, with reports of Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden set to interview with the Penn State Nittany Lions and Strong's history in Florida after spending 15 years with the Florida Gators in three separate stints, before those particular reports of confidence on the Texas end emerged, it was becoming ever more plausible during the afternoon hours that Strong really hadn't made up his mind after Saturday morning reports that he left that critical meeting with his assistants undecided.
Throw in some speculation about Florida being Strong's dream job and the realistic possibility that it could come open next year and it was pretty easy to grow concerned about the delays in the hire becoming official.
All that changed as the reports of an imminent announcement emerged with a solid timetable.
In regards to all the Clint Hurtt talk regarding the defensive line coach's show-cause penalty handed down by the NCAA for his involvement with Nevin Shapiro at Miami, ESPN's Joe Schad is reporting that it's not an issue because Hurtt won't be following Strong to Austin, ever the most likely way for that aspect of the delay to resolve itself.
Schad had some more on why Strong was the choice in athletic director Steve Patterson's process:
Texas was sold on Charlie Strong's commitment to total student athlete and impressed by who vouched for him inside & outside of football.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) January 4, 2014
Indeed, Strong has done an excellent job with the academic side of the Louisville program in a relatively short period of time:
Ninety-three of Strong's 98 players have graduated, and the Cardinals' single-year APR score mushroomed from 896 in the 2009-10 academic year to 948 in Strong's first year to 971 in 2011-12. A U of L spokesman said the team's 2012-13 score, which will be released this spring, is expected to be among the best in the nation.
Maybe that's not surprising since Strong has two masters degrees himself.
Besides making sure that his players graduate from school, Strong also brings a signature toughness as a coach that the Longhorns have been notably lacking in recent seasons:
Source to @gkketch: "If you don't eat bricks for breakfast, you won't last w/ Strong. 1st thing he'll find out is who's tough and who isn't"— Alex Dunlap (@AlexDunlapNFL) January 5, 2014
That means a strength and conditioning program with some actual teeth to it -- one look at Strong makes it clear that he spends his own fair share of time in the weight room staying in shape. His players take notice:
Quarterback Adam Froman explained to Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples that it's not difficult to follow when you see Strong jogging and lifting weights before sun up. "He'll get in there in the weight room, and just put 315 (pounds) on the bar and start repping it out."
Strong doesn't just talk about working in the weight room, he's there himself.
So unless something unexpected happens between now and Sunday evening, that's the future of Texas Longhorns football -- Charlie Strong, ace recruiter, defensive guru, tough guy, and a coach who cares about his players' academic success.
In a few hours, the Stronghorns era should officially begin.