Charlie Strong seemingly hadn’t even made his leather desk chair in Austin warm yet until Red McCombs lobbed his “position coach” comment at him. For those who don’t recall, the Longhorns super-booster said of Strong’s hiring, “I think the whole thing is a bit sideways. I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.”
McCombs later apologized for the comment, but those words, the terms he categorized UT’s first black coach in, followed the program around for the entirety of Strong’s 3-year tenure. Even when the Texas president and athletics director made cheering statements supporting their coach fighting to reach the .500 mark, McCombs’s comments were trudged out any time a commentator looked to make a point how Strong never had a chance in Austin.
Tom Herman won’t have to deal with any of that.
Speaking with Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman, McCombs said, “We got the right man.”
“I know Tom by reputation, and spoke to him this morning. This guy is the real deal,” McCombs said. “If you list his 10 greatest qualities, coaching might be No. 7 or 8. His greatest is recognizing talent. The second one is recognizing the enemy and what it takes to beat him. There are some guys out there we know are winners because we’ve played them and gotten our ass beat the last two years.”
The former owner of the Minnesota Vikings and the San Antonio Spurs, McCombs is a billionaire that has his name on the Texas business school and the softball stadium. He’s also an octogenarian. His later quotes proved he gives as much a damn as one would expect an octogenarian billionaire to give.
“He tried hard, but it wasn’t there,” McCombs said of Strong. “It just didn’t fit, and he had to be frustrated out of his head. You got to have confidence when you step into that ring. It’s like being in Madison Square Garden and the whole world is looking at you. I tried to get the powers-to-be to have mercy on him after two years. That was like me running NASA.”
Having given likely the final quote on Strong he’ll ever give, McCombs then set the expectations for Herman’s time in Austin. And Major Applewhite‘s.
“We’ll be back in that circle of the top five or six teams in the country soon,” McCombs said. “It won’t take long. I think Tom will blow the lid off it. In 10 years, we’ll get an awful lot out of him. And after Major Applewhite does the same thing at Houston, then we’ll get him.”