Texas fires coach Charlie Strong after three losing seasons

Charlie Strong is out at Texas with a record of 16-21 in his three seasons as head coach.

The decision announced Saturday comes after the Longhorns concluded their season with a 31-9 home loss to TCU.

Longhorns athletics director Mike Perrin said in a statement that "after through evaluation, the body of work over three season has not shown the improvement we were hoping for. This was an important year for our program to take the next step, and the results simply aren't there, so we've decided to make a change."

Strong released a statement saying he understands "it comes down to wins and losses and we have not done our job in that area."

 

 

Texas President Greg Fenves wanted badly for Strong to succeed, but he needed some evidence in the last two weeks of the season to push back against the big-money boosters thirsting for Houston coach Tom Herman.

Instead, he got a six-turnover performance in a loss at Kansas, which hadn’t won a Big 12 game since Nov. 8, 2014. Then on Friday with a chance to earn a sixth win and reach a bowl game, the Longhorns fell apart in the second half of a close game against the Horned Frogs. 


The defeat closed the book on the third consecutive losing season under Strong. It's the first time Texas has had three losing seasons in row since 1936-38.

Herman now likely becomes the leading candidate to lead the program if the Longhorns can move quickly. Multiple reports Thursday said Herman was closing in on a deal with LSU.

For all the recruiting success and the base of young talent Strong built for the future, the team continued to fail at the little things that mostly reflect on the quality of coaching. Penalties. Footwork. Special teams. Concentration.

Strong will walk away with a lot of money — a reported $10 million buyout — and perhaps an opportunity down the road to resurrect his head coaching career elsewhere.

It just didn’t work out, from an inconsistent offensive philosophy to a defense that regressed every year to squandering the historically significant production of running back D’Onta Foreman.

Under a contract that was set to run through Jan. 23, 2019, Strong will be owed a buyout of about $11.2 million that would be paid out on a monthly basis through the end of the contract term. However, Strong is obligated to make reasonable efforts to obtain other employment. If he does, Texas’ obligation to him will be offset by an amount equal to 50% of the total compensation Strong receives from his new job.

Texas also will be facing the prospect of considerable payouts to Strong’s assistants. Five of his nine on-field assistants are under contract through Jan. 31, 2018, three through Jan. 31, 2019. Collectively, those eight are being paid nearly $4.2 million this season.

Offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert is due $850,000 per year through Jan. 31, 2019, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford $760,000 in base salary through Jan. 31, 2018. Gilbert, Bedford and other assistants have the same mitigation obligations that Strong does, along with the same buyout offset arrangement.
 

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