After three years as head coach at the University of Texas, Charlie Strong has been fired after compiling three straight losing seasons and an overall 16-21 record. Although there are many causes for the potential departure of Strong, in reality there is no one definitive answer as to why Texas will now have to begin yet another coaching search. In truth, there were so many issues with Strong’s three years at the helm that he was bound to fail eventually.
Inability to beat the top teams
To be the best you have to beat the best, and that is one area where Charlie Strong did not succeed at Texas. Over Strong’s three years at the helm, the Longhorns posted a 5-10 record against teams ranked in the Associated Press (AP) poll. Some of these notable victories include defeating #24 West Virginia in 2014 and #8 Baylor in 2016. Despite small glimpses of incredible play which were able to spring some victories against quality opponents, the University of Texas is simply expected to put together more than one or two wins against ranked opponents a year. The Big 12 schedule provides plenty of opportunity to rack up quality wins, which is something that Strong was not able to take advantage of.
Although it may have been the loss to lowly Kansas that ultimately caused the Texas administration to fire Strong, there were a number of questionable losses during the three years which Strong led the team which also did not help his cause. Some of the notable losses include Iowa State (2015) and a 41-7 embarrassment to BYU in 2014. At the end of the day, Strong’s tenure may go down as one in which he beat who he was supposed to beat, and lost who he was supposed to lose to. Although it does sound comfortable, this is not a good recipe to keeping your job especially at a major university like Texas.
Inconsistency in coaching staff
Everyone knows that the number one priority of a recently hired head coach is to bring over all of their staff; assistants, offensive and defensive coordinators, etc. While Strong was able to move most of his primary options over to his coaching staff, there was an incredible amount of turnover in those positions during Strong’s tenure. By the time that Strong will officially be relieved of his duties, Strong would have lost eight of his assistant coaches, as well as two instances where coordinators had to be demoted. This incredible lack of consistency ultimately produced plenty of questions surrounding Strong and his staff, and only complicated issues as the team continued to drop games year after year.
At the end of the day, there are just certain programs throughout the country that just come with an immense amount of pressure. Schools like Alabama, Michigan, and Florida State have some of the most passionate fan bases in the nation, but sometimes that passion can turn against a head coach that cannot produce immediate success. Ultimately, this was the case with Strong at Texas, as he was never quite able to gain the support of the entire Texas football community despite his cries for patience. What even makes the entire situation more unfortunate is that Strong was able to win the hearts of all of his players, as exhibited by their public outcries for support during the past week. However, as much confidence as the Texas players have exhibited in their head man the pressure from the administration and the paying community eventually did him in.