After leading the Louisville Cardinals to their first BCS victory since 2006, head coach Charlie Strong has been rewarded with a new contract that will keep him with the program through 2020.
According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN, Strong's eight-year extension with Louisville will pay him just under $4 million per season.
Charlie Strong receives 8-year deal worth $3.7 million a year, sources tell @espn— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) January 23, 2013
Strong has been with the Cardinals since the 2010 season. He has compiled a 25-14 record (13-8 in the Big East). The team has played in three consecutive bowl games and increased its win total from seven in each of his first two seasons to 11 in 2012.
Louisville has finished tied for first in the Big East in each of the last two seasons with a 5-2 record. In 2011, the Cardinals had the same record as West Virginia and Cincinnati. Because the Cardinals had the worst overall record among the three teams, they were passed over for a BCS appearance.
A similar scenario occurred in 2012. Louisville finished in a four-way tie with Cincinnati, Rutgers and Syracuse for the Big East regular-season championship. By virtue of being the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings, the Cardinals were given a berth in the Sugar Bowl.
Going up against a Florida Gators team that finished the regular season 11-1 and No. 3 in the BCS standings could have been a daunting task for this Louisville team, but the guidance of Strong and a fast start carried the Cardinals to a surprise victory.
This is a great move for a Louisville team that is clearly on the rise, albeit in a conference that is in a state of flux. Whatever happens to the Big East, it can at least take pride in knowing that this Louisville program can represent it in a competitive, professional manner.