Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Charlie Strong is staying at Louisville.
Strong said Thursday he turned down an offer from Tennessee to remain head
coach of the Cardinals, who are 10-2 this year and will play in the Sugar Bowl
against Florida after capturing a share of the Big East title and the
conference's automatic BCS bid.
"It was the toughest decision I've ever had to make in my 29 years of
coaching," Strong said at a Thursday morning press conference. "It was a life
decision for myself, my family and my school."
Strong is in his third season at Louisville after 27 years as an assistant. He
has guided the Cardinals to a record of 24-14 with three bowl appearances. The
team was 7-6 in each of his first two seasons and is returning to a BCS bowl
for the first time since 2006.
"When I thought about leaving, I kept going back to 'we haven't finished the
job yet. We have a lot of work to do,'" Strong continued.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich had stated his desire to keep Strong,
giving him a contract extension last October despite a 2-4 start to the 2011
Strong said Jurich played an important role in his decision to stay.
"He gave me my first chance to be a head football coach after being an
assistant 27 years," Strong added. "I was always on everybody's short list (of
head coaching candidates), but Tom let me know from the very beginning I was
the only one on his list."
Strong was also reportedly considered for the Auburn vacancy, which eventually
went to Gus Malzahn.
The Sports Network