Texas athletic director Mike Perrin gave embattled head coach Charlie Strong a dreaded vote of (temporary) confidence on Friday afternoon, nearly a week after his own comments caused runaway speculation that the Longhorns coach was a dead man walking in his current job.
“I support Charlie Strong. He’s my coach. He’s a friend. I respect him as a man,” Perrin told reporters in Dallas, according to ESPN. “I really can’t speculate or answer hypothetical questions here of what might be put before us later in the year. I just can’t.”
Perrin declined to speculate as to whether he would ever make a coaching change midseason or if there was a certain number of wins that Strong needed to get in order to save his job.
It’s not all that surprising that the athletic director wanted to address elephant in the room ahead of Texas’ big game against Red River rival Oklahoma this week. The school’s president recently tweeted his support for Strong and the staff on Wednesday in the wake of a humiliating defeat to Oklahoma State last week that dropped the team to 2-2 on the year after a promising start.
Perrin’s comments are a quick and public reversal from what he said last week, in which he told one reporter that he’s “evaluating everything” when it comes to the football program. That prompted several reports to surface saying that Strong is “very close” to losing a job and further fueled speculation that the Longhorns would move on from their head coach quickly in order to lure Houston’s Tom Herman to Austin before other schools could hire the former Longhorns assistant.
Questions regarding how long Strong will be the head coach at Texas have been in the news since he was first hired so it’s not like much has changed in the wake of Perrin’s comments on Friday. Still, you can bet that the coach’s hot seat will cool off considerably if he can beat the Sooners for the second straight season on Saturday.