AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas football coach Charlie Strong has been fired after three seasons with the Longhorns. Texas announced the decision in a release on Saturday morning, the day after the Longhorns regular-season finale loss against TCU.
From Texas Athletic Director Mike Perrin:
“Decisions like this are tough to make. The responsibility is not taken lightly. I became friends with Charlie Strong before becoming Athletics Director. I have the utmost personal respect for him. His impact on college athletics and student-athletes should be celebrated. Coach Strong represented The University of Texas with class and dignity, and he demanded our student-athletes do the same by adhering to his system of core values. However, after thorough evaluation, the body of work over three seasons has not shown the improvement we were hoping for. This was an important year for our program to take the next step, and the results simply aren’t there, so we’ve decided to make a change. We appreciate Coach Strong so much, are grateful for all he has done with our program and wish him the best in the future.”
From Charlie Strong:
“It’s a very difficult day for me, my family and all of the people affected by this decision. I’m most disappointed for these kids and our staff who have poured so much of their lives into this program for the last three years. I do understand that it comes down to wins and losses, and we have not done our job in that area yet. I accept full responsibility for that, but know in my heart that we accomplished our primary goal, which is the development of young men. We have had a positive impact on our campus and the community, and I’m proud of how our team is focused on earning their degrees. We were developing something really special. This program has a championship foundation built on great young men with tremendous character. There are very bright days ahead, and I’ll be pulling for these kids no matter where I am. I want to thank everyone who supported me and this program for the last three years. I don’t regret coming to Texas. I learned a great deal and grew as a person in my time here. I’ll miss the opportunity to lead this program going forward, but I’m ready to accept my next challenge.”
From University of Texas president Greg Fenves:
“Charlie Strong is an outstanding leader and role model who worked hard and with great integrity to move Longhorn football in the right direction. He has been committed to helping our student-athletes succeed both on and off the field. I share the pride, admiration and respect that many in Longhorn nation and beyond feel for him.
In the end, the results over three seasons were not there. It was not clear the future was going to be at the levels expected of Longhorn football.
I congratulate our players, who showed great heart and resilience this season, with many outstanding performances. Elite student-athletes come to UT expecting to compete at the highest levels and succeed academically. The university will continue to pursue those goals and prepare them for life after college.
I am grateful for the contributions Charlie Strong made to our athletics program and the community. I wish Charlie, Vicki and their family only the best moving forward. I will forever consider them friends of the university.
The University of Texas announced the decision Saturday following Friday’s 31-9 loss to TCU. Strong ends his Texas tenure with a 16-21 oveall record. The worst winning percentage by a coach in Texas football history.”
Under Strong, the Longhorns failed to record a winning season going 5-7 the past two seasons. Texas only reached one bowl game losing 31-7 to Arkansas in the 2014 Texas Bowl. Texas hasn’t missed back-to-back bowl games since the ’92-’93 football seasons.
The last time Texas had three straight losing seasons was 1935-1938 when they suffered through four straight losing seasons.
Strong has two years left on his contract and will be owed $10 million, but that figure could go down if Strong gets another job. Texas will also have to pay buyouts on guaranteed assistant coach contracts, approximately $6 million.
“The foundation has been laid here we’ve been building it for three years and even when I looked at it I said the third year we’ll make progress, the fourth year will be our year,” Strong said after the loss to TCU.
Strong had just one three-game winning streak in his three seasons at Texas and that was in 2014 when they became bowl eligible with a win at Oklahoma State. The Longhorns lost the final two games of the 2014 season.
This year, Texas came out with momentum beating Notre Dame and UTEP to open the season 2-0, but went 3-7 after the win over the Miners. The Longhorns ended the season on a three-game losing streak, including an embarrassing overtime loss at Kansas.
Texas struggled on offense down the stretch. In their current three-game losing streak, the Longhorns scored just 50 total points. All this as junior running back D’onta Foreman joined Ricky Williams at the only UT running back with over 2,000 rushing yards in a season. Foreman ran for 2,028 yards in 11 games.
“I don’t want them to look at the wins and losses and I know that’s the way that we’re all judged a lot but it’s also the impact you make on young people’s lives. Sometimes what the foundation that has been laid here now and how it’s only to just get stronger,” Strong said following Friday’s loss.