Of all the people in Austin, perhaps no one knows Charlie Strong better than Austin High head coach Mike Rosenthal.
“I love the guy,” Rosenthal said. “I think it’s a great hire for Texas.”
Rosenthal played offensive line at Notre Dame from 1995 to 1998, the same years Strong was coaching the defensive line for the Irish.
“To me, he’ll always be Coach Strong,” Rosenthal said. “Same guy I knew as a freshman, helped me grow up, helped me get to the NFL. The guys are gonna love him. There wasn’t a guy on that group, in my recruiting class, who didn’t like him.”
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Right away, Strong is emphasizing the importance of recruiting and keeping the best players from Texas in Texas.
“Nationally, the Texas high school coaches [are] king,” Strong said at his introductory news conference. “My staff and I will be committed to closing the borders on this great state.”
For that to happen, Strong will have to work with the high school coaches.
“The great coaches who have had long, successful careers, like Coach [Mack] Brown, like Coach Strong will have here, they will have great relationships with the high school coaches,” Rosenthal said. “He’s gonna be a great guy who the coaches in the state are gonna bond with just cause he’s a good family man, and a good guy.”
And once Strong has locked up the coaches, then he can turn to the athletes.
“I know Coach Strong will take a hands-on approach to that, and he’ll get out and see a lot of kids just cause that’s what he loves,” Rosenthal said. “He loves recruiting, he loves being in the living room, he loves being with the kids and getting to know their families and forge relationships.”
Then they’ll see the man that Rosenthal knows and loves.
“He’s just a good guy,” Rosenthal said. “This job is not gonna change him. He’s the same guy that got in this business to help kids. To help kids graduate, to help kids get better in life, and that’s the same guy he is today. That’s what’s gonna make Texas fans happy.”
Now Rosenthal hopes Strong gets to know the Maroons.