Dec. 9, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Charlie Strong, former defensive coordinator at the University of Florida, has been named the 21st head football coach at the University of Louisville, Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich announced on Wednesday.
"I've done a lot of homework with this hire, and I was amazed how well-respected and revered Charlie Strong is throughout the country ," said Jurich. "He commands a lot of respect from people within the game, including ex-players and coaches around college football."
Jurich added, "However, after meeting him in person, I was even more impressed. Tony Dungy had a huge impact on me with this hire. He was passionate about Charlie as a coach and as person. I respect the opinions of Urban Meyer, who was part of our staff at Colorado State, and Jeremy Foley, who is one of the most respected athletic directors in the country. They both raved about Charlie as a football coach and his great character."
Strong becomes the third African-American coach at a BCS school (Randy Shannon at Miami and Mike London at Virginia) and just the second-ever in the BIG EAST Conference.
Arguably one of the most revered defensive coaches in the country, Strong brings 27 years of collegiate coaching experience, two National Championships and 20 different appearances in bowl games to the sidelines at U of L. He has also worked for three different head coaches who have won national championships in Florida's Urban Meyer, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz.
During his tenure at Florida, he has coached 13 All-Americans, a National Defensive Player of the Year, a Jack Tatum Award winner, two SEC Defensive Freshmen of the Year, two Thorpe Award finalists, two Nagurski Trophy finalists and the 2008 Chevrolet Defensive Player of the Year. He has developed six first-round NFL Draft picks and 15 players that were selected in the third round or higher.
In 2009, Strong guided one of the nation's top defensive units, finishing in the top five in four different statisitcal categories. UF was third in the nation in scoring defense (11.54 ppg), third in pass defense (151.46), fourth in total defense (253.08) and fifth in pass efficiency defense (93.91) in leading the Gators to a 12-1 record and a trip to the SEC Championship game for the third time in Strong's tenure as the defensive coordinator. Five members of his 2009 defense earned first or second All-SEC accolades this season. Strong was named a finalist for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the nation's top assistant coach for the second straight year, and is the only second three-time finalist in the history of the award.
Strongs defense in 2008 ranked in the top 20 nationally in 10 statistical categories, including a school-record tying 26 interceptions that also tied for the most in the country that season.
UFs scoring defense showed the third-largest improvement from the 2007 season to the 2008 season, finishing fifth in the nation by yielding only 12.9 points per game. His most impressive output of the season came in the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship Game versus Oklahoma, who entered the contest with a nation's best 54.0 scoring average. The Gators held the highest-scoring offense in the history of college footbal and the Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford to just 14 points and 363 total yards in Floridas 24-14 win to guide the Gators to their second national title in three years.
For his outstanding work in 2008, Strong was named a finalist for the Broyles Award for the second time in his career. Strong also coached a group of linebackers that included consensus first-team All-American and repeat first-team All-SEC performer Brandon Spikes, who was a finalist for the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Award. In his seven years at UF as defensive coordinator, the Gators intercepted 131 passes, the third-highest total in the nation and the most in the SEC during the last seven seasons.
A tenacious recruiter, Strong was named one of the nations top-25 best recruiters by Rivals.com for his part in inking the 2007 signing class that was ranked No. 1 by most outlets. He was also a vital part in helping Florida lead the SEC in rushing defense for the second straight season while surrendering only 103.3 yards per game, registering as the 10th-best nationally.
In 2007, he also helped develop Spikes into a consensus first-team All-SEC selection. It marked the first time since 1999 that a freshman or sophomore linebacker earned Coaches First-Team All-SEC recognition. In 2006, Strong helped guide the Gator defense that limited opponents to a league best 72.5 rushing yards per game. That figure marked the second-lowest total in school history, and stood nearly 25 yards better than the next-best team in the SEC. The Gators run defense ranked fifth nationally in 2006, while they rated sixth in the nation in total defense with an average of 255.4 yards per contest.
Under Strongs watch, Florida set a BCS record for fewest yards allowed in their national title bout with Ohio State, yielding only 82 yards to better the previous record by 72. Three members of the UF defense earned All-America recognition and six players received All-SEC honors in 2006.
Since the 2003 season, Strong's defensive units have allowed an average of 17.6 points per game, which ranks ninth in the country over that span, have forced a mind-boggling 193 turnovers and an average of 308.6 yards per contest, From 1999-2002, Strong served as defensive coordinator at South Carolina, earning finalist honors for the Broyles Award in 2000. He guided the Gamecocks to a top-20 national ranking in total defense twice, while the 2000 squad ranked sixth in the country in scoring defense after yielding just 15.8 points per game. Strong also spent four seasons at Notre Dame, overseeing the defensive line on a defense that registered a single-season school-record 41.5 sacks in 1997.
A four-year letterwinner at the University of Central Arkansas, Strong was a three-time All-Conference selection in football and a two-time honoree in track. He is married to the former Victoria Lovallo, and the couple has two daughters, Hailee (12) and Hope (9), and one son, Tory (21).
Charlie Strong Personal Information
Birthdate: Aug. 2, 1960
Hometown: Batesville, Ark.
1982 - Bachelor's Degree in Education from University of Central Arkansas
1983 - Master's Degree in Physical Education from Henderson State
1985 - Master's and Educational Specialists Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Florida
Marital Status: Married to the former Victoria Lovallo
Children: Tory (21), Hailee (11), Hope (8)
Charlie Strong Coaching Experience
2008-2009: Florida (Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
2005-2007: Florida (Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
Dec. 2004: Florida (Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator)
2003-2004: Florida (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Ends)
1999-2002: South Carolina (Defensive Coordinator)
1995-1998: Notre Dame (Defensive Line)
1994: Florida (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Tackles)
1991-1993: Florida (Defensive Ends)
1990: Ole Miss (Wide Receivers)
1988-89: Florida (Outside Linebackers)
1986-87: Southern Illinois (Wide Receivers)
1985: Texas A&M (Graduate Assistant)
1983-84: Florida (Graduate Assistant)
Bowl Games as a Coach
2007: BCS National Championship
2008: Capital One
2009: BCS National Championship