Kevin Ryan of 247 Sports released a Top 10 for new coaching hires from this off-season. The rankings are based on “past performance, fit at the new school, possibility of future success, and other criteria.”
Bobby Petrino was ranked as the 4th best hire. What sticks out if you look at the list is who is ranked as the 3rd best hire: Charlie Strong at Texas. What does this mean? Well, absolutely nothing really. But it’s July and these lists are fun to talk about sometimes.
Now I know some people out there will wonder why Strong is even mentioned in this post. Some just want to act like he was never here, or since he is gone that we shouldn’t even mention his name, and that’s fine. You are entitled to that. But he was our coach for 4 years, making him a part of our history no matter what. If John L. Smith or Lee Corso or any other former coach was on this list for this season, I would mention them too.
There’s no way that these two coaches won’t be compared all season long. On opening night, when Louisville scores about 45 points, people will say “We wouldn’t have done that with Charlie here.” If Louisville gets off to a rocky start, and Texas has a great start, some people won’t like that. That’s just the way it’s going to be. There will be fans that keep up with the Texas score every week. Personally, I have no idea how I will be yet. I am not sure if I care how they do. But that’s for another post…They will both be talked about by some portion of the Louisville fan base. To think that every single Louisville fan will just write off the Charlie Strong era and act like he doesn’t exist, is just naive.
Getting back on track, here is what the article said about each coach…
4. Bobby Petrino, Louisville – In terms of strictly being a football hire, Petrino might even belong higher on this list. From a public relations perspective, this hire shouldn’t be in the top 10. Petrino is a great offensive mind who should have success out of the gate at Louisville. Strong left him with some talent on both sides of the ball. The transition to the ACC will make things more difficult for the Cardinals, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. Cardinals AD Tom Jurich is a smart man who has Louisville’s athletic programs in fantastic shape. In case Petrino hasn’t cured his obsession for always looking for his next landing spot, the $10 million buyout Jurich put in place is one heck of a safety net. In terms of recruiting, it will be interesting to see how Petrino and his staff do on the trail and in living rooms when asked the tough questions. Right now the Cardinals are hovering around No. 60 in the team recruiting rankings – behind programs like San Jose State and Old Dominion.
3. Charlie Strong, Texas – Strong had to wait a long time to get his shot at being a head coach, and he used the opportunity Louisville gave him to land one of the biggest and best jobs in college football. Strong almost took the Tennessee job after Derek Dooley was fired, but his patience paid off when Texas came calling one year later. Strong won 23 games in his last two years with the Cardinals, and he did it with Xs and Os and recruiting. Texas recruited with the best of them in recent seasons, but the highly ranked classes didn’t translate to enough wins on the field. The biggest question about Strong and the Longhorns was off-the-field fit, and those against the hire will point to some recent poor public relations reports and say, “I told you so.” Recruiting is a bit of a concern at this point, too, with the Longhorns losing many of the state’s top players to other programs. UT still has a top-25 class, though, and plenty of time to close well.