By Steve Lansdale
AUSTIN, Texas — In a move that has been anticipated by many for some time, University of Texas men's athletic director Mike Perrin announced Saturday that the university has fired football head coach Charlie Strong.
Strong finished his tenure in Austin with a record of 16-21, including a 12-15 mark against Big 12 opponents.
Perrin said that his personal relationship with Strong made the decision a difficult, but it was one that had to be made because of the on-field results during Strong's tenure.
“Decisions like this are tough to make," Perrin said. "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.”
Strong said that while disappointed with the decision, he understands the reasoning behind it, will continue to support the players who played for him, and is eager to see what the future holds.
“It’s a very difficult day for me, my family and all of the people affected by this decision," Strong said. "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.”
UT president Gregory L Fences said that while he is among many who feel considerable respect and admiration for Strong, the results on the field did not indicate that Strong was the right coach to continue leading the program.
"Charlie Strong is an outstanding leader and role model who worked hard and with great integrity to move Longhorn football in the right direction," Fences said. "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."