Strong has 31 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level. The former Central Arkansas safety started his coaching career at Florida as a graduate assistant and has since held positions at Texas A&M, Southern Illinois, Mississippi, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Louisville.
After spending seven years as the defensive coordinator at Florida, Strong took his first head-coaching job at Louisville in 2010. At Louisville he posted 37-15 record and led the Cardinals to four-straight bowl appearances. Last year, Strong led the Cards to a Sugar Bowl upset of Florida and followed it up with 12-1 record in 2013 while grooming potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback.
Of Strong’s 31 years of coaching experience, 21 have been on the defensive side of the ball. Strong has been a defensive play-caller at two different schools and spent several years under coaching greats Urban Meyer and Steve Spurrier at Florida.
Louisville ranked second in the country in sacks and forced 19 fumbles last season, in addition to being the second best scoring defense in the nation. Florida was also considered a strong defensive team during Meyer’s time with the Gators, and Strong played a large part in that.
Turning Things Around
Strong’s first task as the Longhorns head coach is to return Texas to being the dominant program it once was. The Longhorns have lost at least four games in each of the last four seasons, including the 5-7 disaster in 2010. Since 2010, Texas has gone 30-21, compared to its 45-8 record the four years prior.
Strong has experience turning around a diminishing program. Before he arrived in Louisville, the Cardinals had posted three straight seasons below .500. Strong inherited a team that won just five conference games and went 15-21 in three years. Since then, Louisville has won three of its last four bowl games and gone 23-3 the past two seasons.
Strong’s teams are know for their competitive edge. Strong has gained a reputation of toughness and aggression throughout his coaching career, something many people point to as lacking at Texas in recent seasons. The no-nonsense attitude that produced two straight double-digit victory seasons for Strong at Louisville, made him a top target for the Longhorns.
Strong is the first African-American head coach of a men’s sport in school history. The Longhorns have only hired one black head coach since the school was founded in 1883, Bev Kearney, the former women’s track and field head coach.