USF hires former Texas coach Strong to lead football program

Newly hired head football coach Charlie Strong is the first USF coach to be hired with head coaching experience at a Power 5 school. LAUREN USSERY/THE DAILY TEXAN

It didn’t take long for USF to lock down a replacement for recently departed football coach Willie Taggart, who left to take the same job at Oregon.

The school announced late Sunday morning that it had hired former Texas head coach Charlie Strong as its next coach.

“Charlie is a tremendous leader and mentor for our student-athletes and a widely-respected coach with a resume full of achievements at the highest levels of college football,” USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a statement. “He combines a drive to win with great integrity and deep, long-standing connections in the state of Florida.”

Strong, who becomes only the fourth coach in USF’s 20-year history, met with USF officials Friday and was offered the job prior to returning to Austin to discuss it with his family.

Strong is the first USF coach to be hired with prior head coaching experience at a Power 5 school.

“I am humbled that we have a shared commitment to take this university and this football program to even greater heights,” Strong said in a statement. “Some of the best football talent in the country is right here in the Bay Area and throughout the state of Florida, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with the young men in the USF football program and build on the strong foundation already in place.”

Strong has solid recruiting ties in Florida after spending multiple years at the University of Florida under Urban Meyer.

Strong was fired from Texas after three consecutive seven-loss seasons.

Prior to coaching the Longhorns, Strong spent four years at Louisville, winning back-to-back Big East championships in 2011 and 2012. Strong posted a 37-15 record in those four years.

In his final year before leaving for Texas, Strong coached eventual first-round draft pick Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals to a 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida with Louisville finishing ranked 13th in the nation.

Strong also held positions on the coaching staffs at Florida, Texas A&M (1985), Southern Illinois (1986-87), Mississippi (1990), Notre Dame (1995-98) and South Carolina (1999-2002).

Strong is expected to be introduced officially later this week.