Strong has whirlwind first day as UofL head coach


by Adam Walser

Posted on December 10, 2009 at 12:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 10 at 12:52 AM

Do you think Charlie Strong is a good choice for U of L's coach?

UofL’s new football coach wrapped up one amazing day Wednesday that started with a flight to Louisville from Florida.

It ended with Charlie Strong greeting fans plus some of UofL’s top supporters and VIPs at an invitation only event.

WHAS11 was told Charlie Strong started off his day at 4 a.m. running in shorts down in Florida.

Within 18 hours, he got onboard a private plane to Louisville, met with college officials who offered him a dream job he's been chasing for 27 years and managed to increase his salary by 500%.

Strong told WHAS11’s Adam Walser he was, “really excited,” saying this day was the “best day of my life. Sure is.”

With those words, Charlie Strong entered another event to meet hundreds of new friends and supporters.
Strong left a balmy Florida that morning but  despite chilly weather in Louisville, his reception couldn't have been warmer.

Strong was officially introduced at a press conference, and then spent the next hours answering questions.

But Strong also took time to shake the hands of every future player.

“Anytime you bring in a new coach, you've got some nerves going, not sure what to expect. But he seems like a great guy,” said UofL football’s Adam Froman.

And he didn't forget the people who pack Papa John’s Cardinals Stadium, posing for pictures and signing autographs until every single fan got through the line more than an hour after he started.

To the tailgate crew who kept coming to games in this converted ambulance despite losing seasons,

Strong looks like a good fit.

“The excitement from the fans is right back. Everybody I’ve talked to seems like this is a home run,” said one fan.

The best day for strong nearly 3 decades in the making, and fans hope it's just the first of many best days.

Strong plans to stay in Louisville for about a week, meeting with players and looking for a house, before returning to Florida to help the Gators prepare for the Sugar Bowl.

He plans to begin rebuilding the program and recruiting new players when he comes back for good in early January.