University of Louisville head football coach Charlie Strong answered the days of speculation with an emphatic no. With the University of Arkansas football program imploding, Coach Strong's name began being bandied about as the replacement for its current coach and former UofL head man John L. Smith.
Smith came in after another former Louisville head coach, Bobby Petrino, got caught up in the affair with the motorcycle accident and the mistress who is half his age. Before Petrino's issues came to a head, football experts thought of Arkansas as a top 5 program this year with possible national championship implications. Even with his firing, the Razorbacks should have been pretty good. However, the 1-4 start says otherwise.
Meanwhile, can Smith be all about football with a $40 million debt hanging over his head. Wednesday, he filed bankruptcy against that, which includes a sizeable $20 million dollar debt to Terra Springs LLC and $15 million owed to a BB&T bank, both in Louisville. That's enough to keep your mind off the X's and O's.
So Charlie Strong enters the equation. It has been pointed out that Strong is from Arkansas and might be interested in taking the job because of hometown connections and because it's an SEC team. With the faltering of the Big East, so-called experts seemed ready to play the trumpets that would herald Coach Strong's arrival.
Not so fast.
On the nationally syndicated Jim Rome radio program, the host asked the coach point blank about the speculation that he would on his way to the Razorback job. Coach Strong didn't flinch. He said:
“I’m fine where I’m at. I have a lot of backing here. My family’s here, they love it here. I’m pretty comfortable where I’m at. You don’t just walk away. A lot of times we think the grass is greener on the other side. You don’t walk away when you’re building a program.”
“Then I look at the players I recruited here. I told them to come here for me and this university, and then all of a sudden I get a shot to go somewhere else and I walk away from them? I’m just not cut like that.
And then there's this from Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich. “I will match anybody's salary,” he said. “I will match anybody in college.”
For the moment, that settles that.
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