Charlie Strong Says He 'Let Down' African-American Coaches After Texas Firing

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2017

Texas head coach Charlie Strong before an NCAA college football game against TCU, Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Charlie Strong's tenure as head football coach at the University of Texas was a letdown, leading to his firing after the 2016 season. 

Beyond his own disappointment with posting three straight losing seasons with the Longhorns, Strong told Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports another reason he was unhappy with his performance.

"When you’re the first minority coach at a major university like that, you feel like there’s so many people counting on you," he said. "I got upset at myself for not being successful, and I got upset at myself because you feel like you let a lot of people down. There are only so many African-American coaches, so when you get on a stage like that..."

Strong didn't wait long before getting a new head coaching gig, taking the job at South Florida on Dec. 15 after Willie Taggart took over at Oregon. But his comments about minority head coaches at major universities do highlight another issue. 

In December 2015, Marc Tracy of the New York Times noted there were only 13 minority head coaches (11 black head coaches) from the 128 FBS schools. 

"The percentage of black head coaches in college football (less than 9 percent) is even lower than the NFL’s rate of 16 percent (five of 32)," Tracy wrote. "Among the 65 programs in the so-called Big 5 conferences, seven employ black head coaches."

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Strong's teams at Texas never lived up to the lofty expectations fans and the media always have for the program. He went 16-21 over three seasons, losing his only bowl appearance in 2014, and became the first Longhorns head coach since Edwin Price from 1954-56 to have three straight non-winning seasons.

He built up a successful program at Louisville, going 37-15 in four seasons with a Sugar Bowl win in 2012 and a 12-1 record in 2013 that led to him getting the Texas job. 

With a fresh start at South Florida, Strong again has the platform to take an overlooked program that's coming off an 11-win season and make it a national powerhouse.     

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