For his introductory press conference in front of the media who will cover his every move, Charlie Strong was color-coordinated and dressed appropriately.
Beige colored suit accentuating a burnt orange necktie.
Orange is the color he will be wearing on Saturdays in the fall as the new Longhorn head coach, but he could not escape questions about another color.
The color of his skin.
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“When you think about it, yes, this is a historic day,” said Strong who is the first ever African-American head coach in history for any men’s sport at the University of Texas.
“There always has to be a first somewhere.”
But although he causally acknowledged the historical significance, he also downplayed the football significance.
“I do not want to be looked at as being the first,” said Strong. “I just want to be a football coach, and that is the way I want to be treated.”
Strong has faced the questions about race before.
He has previously said he felt it was a contributing factor as to why he was looked over as a head coach in previous years.
But former UT assistant coach Bucky Godbolt now believes race can work to Strong’s advantage rather than disadvantage.
“Charlie Strong can now come into a household, especially an African-American household, and say ‘I’m the head coach of UT. I’ll take care of your son,” said Godbolt.
“And that means an awful lot.”
The University of Texas is currently involved in a lawsuit aimed at the use of affirmative action in their admissions process.
Austin councilwoman Sheryl Cole was at Strong’s introduction and believes his hiring is a statement about the university’s diversity.
“We have made a statement that our athletic program is on par with our academic programs in terms of what we are opening it up to.”