AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — New Texas football coach Charlie Strong says he's excited to lead one of the premier programs in the country, calling the Longhorns job a dream.
In a statement released by the school formally announcing the hire Sunday, Strong called Texas a special program because of its history, tradition and pride.
Strong spent the previous four years at Louisville. His Cardinals teams went 23-3 the last two seasons. He replaces Mack Brown, who coached Texas for 16 years and won the 2005 national championship. The Longhorns have lost at least four games each of the last four seasons.
Strong says the decision to leave Louisville was difficult, but Texas was a job offer he couldn't pass up.
Strong was traveling to Austin on Sunday and will be introduced at a Monday news conference.
"I'm excited and my family is excited to have the chance to lead one of the premier football programs in the country," Strong said. "Texas is one of those places that is always on your radar and a program anyone would dream of being a part of because you have a chance to compete on a national level every year. It's special because it has such great history, pride, tradition and passion for football."
"To follow a future Hall of Fame coach like Mack Brown, who built a program that had great success and a reputation of doing it with class and integrity, is extra special," Strong said. "The National Championship, BCS Bowl wins and all he accomplished in 16 years built on the Longhorn legacy and makes it such an exciting place to be.
"Coach Brown developed such a strong bond with his players, the lettermen, community and high school coaches in this state, and that's something I hope to build on. He made everyone feel at home. I had the opportunity to speak at the High School Coaches Clinic in Austin a few years ago and Coach Brown introduced Coach (Darrell) Royal, and everyone gave him a standing ovation. Meeting Coach Royal and being around him that day is something I'll never forget."
"This was a difficult decision because the University of Louisville gave me my first opportunity as a head coach," Strong said. "I have so much respect for President (James) Ramsey and (Athletics Director) Tom Jurich. They have been great to me and my family, and it was very hard to say goodbye, but they know this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."