Texas football coach Charlie Strong said Monday that he wants to return as the Longhorns’ football coach next season and believes he has a chance to do so despite multiple media reports Sunday about his imminent ouster.
In a news conference in Austin attended by several of his players, Strong echoed the sentiments of school administrators who say a final decision has not been reached on his future despite the coach’s 16-20 mark at the school heading into the final game of his third season at Texas.
Texas (5-6, 3-5 in Big 12) meets TCU (5-5, 3-4) in Friday’s matchup in Austin (2:30 p.m., FS1) and Strong said administrators have delivered the same message he has heard all season, even in the wake of last week’s stunning 24-21 loss to Kansas (2-9, 1-7) that broke the Jayhawks’ 19-game losing streak against Big 12 opponents.
“I have been told that we will be evaluated at the end of the season. After the last game against TCU, a decision will be made,” Strong said Monday in Austin. “I want to come back. I look at … just how far we’ve come. Yeah, the wins and losses, they don’t stack up. But, still, you’re looking at a young football team and a team that when you get everything back in place for the upcoming year has a lot of talent.”
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At one point, when asked if he would retain himself as the Longhorns’ football coach if placed in the position of the school president, Strong replied: “I would.”
If Friday marks Strong’s last game at Texas, he will complete three full seasons without posting a winning record at a school that ranks among college football’s top five with 891career victories. Texas has not gone three consecutive seasons without a winning record since 1936-38.
Strong said he addressed speculation about his impending ouster at a Sunday meeting with players after multiple reports surfaced, starting with one from the Austin American-Statesman.
“In our meeting, I did not tell them that I would not be back,” Strong said.
Instead, Strong said he urged players to relax and stop playing “not to lose” while trying to secure a bowl berth with a victory over TCU.
“We’re all frustrated,” said Strong, who shot down a Monday report about a possible player boycott of the TCU game. “They won’t boycott this game. That’s not going to happen.”
Texas athletic director Mike Perrin issued a statement Sunday night saying Strong and his staff would be evaluated after the TCU game. The statement did not say Strong would return. During a Monday teleconference with league football coaches, Strong acknowledged his record works against him at a school used to winning at a high level.
Asked about his future, Strong said: “It just comes down to how important wins and losses are, along with the development of young men. It’s a combination of both.”
During the same teleconference, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder offered his take on Strong’s situation. Snyder, 77, offered postgame encouragement to Strong after the Wildcats’ victory last month in Manhattan, Kan. and has consistently identified Strong, a noted disciplinarian, as the type of positive role model that is needed today in college football.
“As coaches, we all say we get it,” Snyder said of the potential for Strong to leave after only three seasons because of a 16-20 record. “That doesn’t mean it’s something you have to be in agreement with. We’ve allowed money to take over the game and that wasn’t the intent. It’s supposed to be for the student-athletes … Yeah, I have issues with that.”