The biggest moment of the decade for Louisville football

While other moments may be fresher in the minds of fans, hiring Charlie Strong was the biggest moment of the decade for Louisville football.

A month from now, Louisville football will begin its final season of the 2010s. Although last season was a nightmare under head coach Bobby Petrino, overall I would say it’s been a pretty good decade for the program.

When most fans look back on what Louisville has accomplished, they tend to have a recency bias- especially when it comes to what the biggest moment was in the 2010s. While Lamar Jackson winning the school’s first-ever Heisman trophy was historic for the program, I would argue that the hiring of Charlie Strong in 2010 was really the biggest moment for the program.

Before Strong came, football at the University of Louisville was painful to watch. From a fan perspective, seeing teams that had no heart, and no discipline constantly lose winnable games was something I never want to live through again. Louisville won just 15 out of 36 games from 2007-2009 under “Steve Kragthorpe” (I’ll be nice).

Then, in 2010, Tom Jurich took a chance on Charlie Strong, who, at the time, was a respected defensive coordinator at Florida

The main thing that Strong brought to the table from 2010-2013 was the belief to us as fans that our school could become a legitimate football program. We all knew how great of a “defensive mind” he was but recruiting players like quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, wide receiver DeVante Parker, and running back Senorise Perry on offense was huge for the program.

Strong even influenced the motto of “Cardinal Strong” because you felt like with him as the leader of our football team that these players would come ready to play each game. Once he started to get some of the Florida talent to come to Louisville, the Cardinals blossomed into one of the best programs in the country. The 2013 upset victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl showed that Louisville was ready to take it to another level on the gridiron.

In his time as head coach in Louisville, Charlie earned an overall record of 37-15. The team’s success on the football field was also a key reason in how Louisville was able to join the ACC in 2014.

Perhaps moments like winning at Notre Dame in 2014, the hot start in 2016, the win against No. 2 Florida State, or Lamar Jackson winning the Heisman Trophy are fresher in our minds. However, none of that would have been possible without the Strong era. As much as Strong viewed the Louisville job as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, those were also years that paved way for even more future success.

Although the way he left the program was highly scrutinized, Louisville’s hiring of Charlie Strong in 2010 was the biggest moment of the decade for the Cardinals’ football team.