The Longhorns welcomed new head football coach Charlie Strong today in a press conference at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. And if the presser had a theme, it was simple: Integrity.
Strong told reporters he respected the foundation of Mack Brown's tenure, that the coach was a man with integrity, and that players must perform, both on and off the field, with integrity and accountability. Ultimately, Strong says his goal is to bring the Longhorns back into the national title conversation.
"The bricks are there," Strong said. "And I just need to put another brick on top of it."
Strong promised "hard-nosed" crowd-pleasing football, saying that the Longhorns must focus on their running game — a shift from Mack Brown's quarterback-centric offense of his last few seasons. He also promised more intense recruiting within the Lone Star State, pledging he will, "close the door to the borders of this state to out-of-state recruiters."
Both Athletic Director Steve Patterson and UT President Bill Powers welcomed Strong to the Longhorns, speaking highly of his record as a recruiter and his focus of encouraging players to live up to their role as student athletes.
"It's been clear that we're looking for a coach that can win, and win with integrity," Powers said.
Strong is the 29th coach in UT's history, becoming the first African-American coach in the program's 121 year history, a fact which he addressed briefly while speaking with reporters, saying that it was an "historic day," but that it was also an historic day when President Obama was elected.
"I'm a football coach," Strong said. "I'm a football coach trying to change young men's lives."
Strong joins UT after a tenure at University of Louisville that revitalized that program, with a record of 37 wins and 15 losses in his four-year career. In that time, Louisville also earned two Big East championships, and Strong was voted the conference's Coach of the Year twice. Prior to that, Strong served as defensive coordinator for the University of Florida Gators. The Strong-led defense led Florida to two national titles, holding Ohio State to 82 yards in the 2006 BCS National Championship, a record for fewest yards.