The Charlie Strong era at USF began so well but it’s unravelling has led to a necessary end.
On Sunday the school confirmed numerous reports that the Bulls have parted ways with their head coach after three seasons.
“I would like to thank Coach Strong and his staff for their hard work and contributions to our program,” AD Michael Kelly said in a statement. “I have tremendous respect for Coach Strong and his dedication to recruiting and developing young men of talent and character and leading them with integrity. He has represented USF with dignity and class and we wish Coach and his family the very best.
“I met with our student-athletes and staff today to inform them of my decision and to make clear USF’s commitment to a championship-caliber football program that recruits and develops student-athletes and provides the resources and support for them to achieve great success in competition, in the classroom and in the community.”
Strong began his stint in Tampa with plenty of optimism despite a rough tenure that led to his departure at previous gig Texas . However after following up a 10 win debut season that included being ranked as high as No. 21 following a 7-0 start in Year 2, USF remarked on a remarkable slide backward and lost 14 of their last 18 games. That included an 0-3 record against I-4 rival UCF that was capped off with a 34-7 loss on Friday.
The 59 year-old head coach wraps up his time leading the Bulls with an overall 21-16 record, including an 11-13 mark in AAC play. The former Louisville head coach and longtime SEC assistant likely will be snapped up as a defensive coordinator somewhere else but for now he leaves behind an intriguing job at the Group of Five level.
Ex-USF head coach and recently fired Florida State head man Willie Taggart has already been mentioned as a potential candidate and given how reunions are all the rage in college football nowadays, one probably can’t rule out just such a move by the brass in Tampa.