Texas officially introduced Charlie Strong as its head football coach on Monday, marking the first time since 1998 someone other than Mack Brown will coach the ‘Horns.
In his first press conference in Austin, Strong emphasized the tradition of Texas over and over, paying respect to the work put in by Mack Brown and Darrell Royal before him to get the program to where it is — as the most powerful in college football.
“The bricks are there,” Strong said. “I just need to put another brick on top of it.
“… It’s time to put this program back on the national stage.”
Strong likes where Texas is right now, even though the Longhorns haven’t played in a BCS bowl in four years. He got the most fired up talking about recruiting, though, likely a point of emphasis for a coach whose predecessor missed out on back-to-back Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks from the state of Texas.
“We will recruit with fire, and we will recruit with passion,” Strong said. “We are devoted to making Austin the state capitol for college football.”
Strong said he hasn’t made any decisions about his staff, though Orangebloods reported before the press conference that Strong’s defensive coordinator, linebackers coach and strength and conditioning coach from Louisville will join him at Texas.
Reporters hit Strong with some fairly tough questions during the presser, too, including one on reviving the lost rivalry game with Texas A&M. Strong said he’d be interested in playing A&M again in the future, though added: “It’s so hard with the different conferences with that.”
Dealing with the media will be an added task on Strong’s plate in Austin, with the Longhorn Network and large press contingent a major step up from Louisville. Strong seemed nervous and stumbled over his words early on in the press conference — it looked like he was trying to read bullet points off a sheet — but eventually settled in and seemed to get more comfortable as the event rolled on.
And to get an idea of what faced Strong, there’s this photo:
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) January 6, 2014