Charlie Strong coached Louisville to a Big East championship and BCS berth in just his third year as the program’s head coach, and others have noticed his success. GoVols247.com reported ($) there is “mutual interest” between Tennessee and Strong. Rumors earlier in the week suggested Strong met with Auburn before the Cardinals’ Big East championship tilt against Rutgers.
Strong vehemently denied meeting with Auburn, calling it a distraction. With his team preparing for either the Orange or Sugar Bowl and these high profile jobs needing to be filled, speculation will only continue to swell. Thus, so will distractions.
Strong’s name is a popular one in SEC coaching rumors; he’s also been floated as a potential prospect for the Arkansas opening, though without the rumored conversations emanating from Auburn and Tennessee.
All this attention is earned. His quick rebuild of Louisville is certainly impressive, and Strong has a proven track record in the SEC from his time at Florida. Strong’s Gator defenses were among the very best in college football. Both Auburn and Tennessee struggled defensively this season.
Two rumored conversations might seem like a where there’s smoke, there’s fire proposition, but coaching carousel rumors often devolve into the Weekly World News of college football. The Gruden saga, the unsubstantiated five-year, $27.5 million Arkansas offer that Les Miles parlayed into an extension at LSU, the Bobby Petrino-to-Auburn chatter: this hiring season is shaping up to be more of a carnival act than usual.
Strong is now a player in this drama now, whether he wants to be or not. Louisville scored a major long term win with its vote into the ACC earlier this week, ensuring the Cardinals an opportunity at playoff and major bowl access when the new system commences in 2014. Louisville also gave Strong the head coaching opportunity he routinely sought elsewhere, but was denied.