November 24, 2012; Louisville, KY USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong reacts during the second half of play against the Connecticut Huskies at Papa John

Securing Strong Sends Statement

October 26, 2012; Louisville, KY USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong watches from the sidelines during the first half of play against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Papa John

Charlie Strong’s press conference to discuss the Rutgers win and upcoming battle in the Sugar Bowl against Florida on Monday kicked-off a wild past three days. Rumors were flying across every social media outlet and news channel that had interest to discuss if Strong was leaving Louisville. The murky responses he gave to reporters in regards to his tenure at UofL was the confirmation that something indeed was occurring.

There were several speculations Monday and Tuesday that Strong was possibly going to accept the vacancy at Auburn. However, on Tuesday the Tigers announced they had hired Gus Malzahn. Immediately, reports fired off that Tennessee was in serious conversations with Strong. Wednesday was a day full of uncertainty and assumptions for Card Nation.

The interest in Strong’s decision was growing so quickly nearly every UofL player with a Twitter account gained hundreds of followers each. Everyone was in hopes that someone knew something. It was quickly confirmed that Strong was indeed Tennessee’s top target. The Vols did extend an offer and it generated a counteroffer from Louisville AD Tom Jurich. The bidding war for Strong’s services were apparent.

After reports that Strong would not discuss his decision until 8 am on Thursday, minutes later on Wednesday evening it was leaked that Strong was staying at Louisville.

Turning down Tennessee is a huge statement in Louisville football history. UofL has historically been a stepping stone for coaches. Jurich securing Strong is a commitment to take football seriously and no longer take a backseat to Rick Pitino and basketball. Of course, the announcement to join the ACC was likely a key player. Every big time coach wants the opportunity to compete for a National Championship and that was unlikely playing in the Big East.

In three seasons as the head man, Strong is 24-14 at Louisville. A victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl could complete the trifecta for Louisville fans and the university: ACC, Strong staying, and BCS win.

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