What’s wrong with Strong?

In addition to being the bane of Georgia’s existence as a defensive coordinator at Florida and South Carolina for a good number of years now, Charlie Strong is very well regarded as a recruiter.

And yet guys with relatively unimpressive resumes, like Kiffin and Chizik, get the head coach openings, while Strong doesn’t even merit some serious consideration?

I really don’t get it.  I really don’t.

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16 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

16 responses to “What’s wrong with Strong?

  1. Heyberto

    Yeah, that’s weird. I heard the stuff that being from a mixed race marriage might be a factor.. While I can’t deny that those kind of considerations may be an issue, I tend to think its more than that but can’t understand what it could be. He’ll be great wherever he goes, I’m sure of it.

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  2. The only thing I can think of is that he’s doesn’t interview very well? He’s clearly been ready to be a head coach since around 2002. I’d like to think we live in a world where thinks like his mixed-race marriage don’t matter, but I’m not that naive. I hope the reason he hasn’t gotten a job is the former, but I strongly suspect it’s the latter. He deserves a shot though.

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  3. RP

    Lethal Weapon 2 has all the answers:

    [At the South African Consulate]
    Roger Murtaugh: How you doin’?
    [his handshake is ignored by the Envoy]
    Consulate Envoy: I think there must be some mistake.
    Roger Murtaugh: Say what?
    Consulate Envoy: Listen to your friend here, he knows what he’s talking about. I don’t think you want to go to South Africa.
    Roger Murtaugh: Why not?
    Consulate Envoy: Because you’re black!
    Leo Getz: [to Murtaugh] You are.
    [to Envoy]
    Leo Getz: He is.

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  4. Hackerdog

    I assume that he is Mark Richt back in 1998. Richt was a highly thought of coordinator, but he was waiting for the perfect job to come available.

    Even if prejudice kept Strong out of the Auburn job, there are dozens of other schools out there that would happily take him. The only thing that makes sense is that he is not interested in taking just any HC job.

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  5. stick jackson

    I really do get it. I really do.

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  6. Jim

    Why did Florida pass him over for meyer?

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  7. SRQDawgs15

    I have seen a lot of this the last few days for some reason. There are more than a few reasons why Strong isn’t a head coach anywhere, and they have nothing to do with race.
    1. He has interviewed for jobs in the past and, by most accounts, has been offered some jobs (Vandy) only to turn them down. What AD wants this guy publicly rejecting their school?
    2. He wants to coach at Florida. His family lives there and loves it and Charlie may be able to wait a few more years and take over at UF instead of moving on to somewhere he doesn’t want to be. Its not like his job now sucks.
    3. He fell flat on his face when he had the national spotlight and a chance to show everyone he should be a head coach. Remember he coached UF against Miami in the Peach Bowl before Meyer came in and looked awful in doing so.
    4. Is he really that good of a coach or a recruiter? I didn’t hear all this outrage last year after Strong’s defense couldn’t stop anybody. People blame that on youth/inexperience but the ’07 D was as old or older than the ’08 D. And, if the players were the problem doesn’t that mean he didn’t do so well in recruiting? For that matter, the UF D was good in ’06 and ’08 but was bad in ’04, ’05, and ’07. Who wants that kind of inconsistency on both sides of the ball if they make him the head coach?

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    • 3. He fell flat on his face when he had the national spotlight and a chance to show everyone he should be a head coach. Remember he coached UF against Miami in the Peach Bowl before Meyer came in and looked awful in doing so.

      I think that’s a silly point, but you want to tell me how much better Kiffin and Chizik have looked as head coaches to date?

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  8. Derek

    I think Mark Richt would have talked to Auburn or Tennessee had they been looking in 2000. Strong isn’t even getting interviewed. If it isn’t that he’s married to a white woman, I don’t know what else it could possibly be. The only part of the country that might not be an issue is out on the West Coast and he has no connections out there. Its too bad but I think he’s sol as long as boosters remain a collection of rich white guys. If you think this sort of stuff doesn’t happen you should read why Vince Lombardi wasn’t hired at Wake Forest in the late-50’s. Yep, too ethnic. The best coach in the history of football was too Italian and too Catholic for the Demon Deacons.

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  9. HackerDog

    Right or wrong, I think Auburn and Tennessee zeroed in on their top choices early in the process. Strong has made it public that he only wants to interview at a school that has zeroed in on him as the #1 choice.

    Also, most people don’t anticipate Meyer staying at UF for many more years, so Strong may want to sit tight and be the coach-in-waiting for the Gators.

    I won’t argue that there are no schools in Div I where race (or interracial marriage) isn’t a disqualifier for the HC job. But there are several jobs available that you can’t make that argument. I think Strong is simply unwilling to be the next MAC turnaround coach of the year. He wants a big-time program. And he’s willing to wait for it.

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  10. I think the Richt/Strong comparison is dead-on. The only other job besides UGA I ever heard that Richt was interested in was LSU when DiNardo got run. He was interested in moving only once so he wanted to go to a school that he could win and stay at for a long, long time. I would imagine Strong is the same way. He either wants to stay in Gainesville and get that job when Urbs bolts, or he wants to move once to the perfect fit.

    Following that model, if it doesn’t look like UF is going to open up, I’d expect him to go to a flagship school in a state that produces a lot of instate talent.

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  11. SRQDawgs15

    Senator, I don’t think the bad performance is the reason he doesn’t have a job, but it didn’t help. Other coaches have used those games to their advantage and he didn’t. Look at WV just a year ago. If Strong had taken that team and performed, he would be a head coach right now. But he didn’t and he isn’t. As far as Kiffin and Chizik, they’ve each won 5 games compared to Strong’s 0. Seriously though, Tenn would have had to pay Strong too much to assemble their group of assistants and wouldn’t have gotten Monte without Lane. Auburn hired a former coach of theirs. That isn’t really uncommon to go with the guy you already know. Mullen to MSU because they wanted offense, not defense. The list goes on. Strong was interviewed in the past and stuck with UF, these schools aren’t just going to beg Strong to come when he obviously knows what he wants to do. I personally think his inconsistent defenses at UF are the reason he isn’t a head coach (#4 on my list).

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  12. NM

    Of course, we’ve seen lots of coordinators fall flat on their faces as head coaches (heh, Kiffin and Chizik being prime examples… oops), so it could be that the suggestion above of him not being a great interview is part of it — as an AD, you want a HC that’s more than Xs and Os, but about being the leader for your program, and maybe he lacks that. I don’t know.

    Here’s another angle though, that I suspect will be less popular. People often assume Strong is passed over due to racial considerations, but maybe he’s only so high-profile due to racial considerations. How often is it said, “Why don’t teams hire black coaches? There are lots of great candidates — look at Charlie Strong!” We used to hear that same line, with Sylvester Croom’s name instead. Obviously, Strong shouldn’t suffer for Croom’s problems (that *would* be racist), but it does illustrate the propensity to find a pretty good black coach and talk him up into a great one.

    So here’s an admittedly oversimplified analysis. I compared the Total Defense ranks of Georgia and Florida from 2005-2008 (the period since Willie Martinez took over as DC). Here’s where the two ranked in the SEC, according to the NCAA:

    ’05: Florida 4, Georgia 5
    ’06: UF 2, UGA 3
    ’07: UF 7, UGA 3
    ’08: UF 3, UGA 6
    Average: UF 4, UGA 4.25

    So based on being ranked 1/4 of a spot higher, on average, Strong is obviously being passed over due to his race, while Martinez probably ought to be fired. Right.

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  13. donkeydawg

    Thanks for bringing this topic up, Senator. I was puzzled as well when his name didn’t come up in any of this year’s vast number of HC openings. Reading the comments, it seems there are some non-racial factors that could well be at play, and I also think the bigger scandal is the relatively low number of black coordinators around (probably attributable more to the hire-your-old-friends mentality than to actual racism, but with the same effect).

    In terms of evaluating Strong’s record, two points: first, when Florida’s defense cratered in ’07, I don’t recall hearing a lot of Gator fans calling for Charlie’s head–certainly nothing like the Fire Martinez movement in our own fanbase. Second, we’ll sure find out how well he can do next year, with all 11 starters returning from the unit that throttled Okie’s “unstoppable” offense.

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  14. Aligator

    People, I for one will tell you three things.

    1) Just like Mullen at MSU or Shannon from UM or Stewart at WVU, some people are better coordinators than head coaches. Strong is one of those people.

    2) He is married to a white woman, in the south that just does not fly, sadly, and it has cost him some jobs.

    3) There are better coaches out there than he is?

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  15. SRQDawgs15

    Ali, why no offers from other schools then? The “racism in the South” thing has nothing to do with most of the coaching jobs in the nation, so it would seem those schools just don’t like the coach regardless of his or his wife’s skin color.

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