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USF looks to former Texas boss Charlie Strong as new coach

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The USF Bulls have made a Strong choice as their new head football coach.

The Bulls announced Sunday that they had signed former Texas and Louisville head coach Charlie Strong as their new coach, replacing former coach Willie Taggart who went to Oregon. The Bulls signed Strong to a five-year contract.

Strong, a former defensive coordinator with the Florida, was a member of two national championship teams with with the Gators. Strong spent 15 years working in Florida, which should help him when it comes to recruiting.

We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Charlie, his wife, Vicki, and their children Tory, Hailee and Hope, back to the state of Florida and to our Bulls family,” athletic director Mark Harlan said. “Charlie is a tremendous leader and mentor for our student-athletes and a widely-respected coach with a resume full of achievements at the highest levels of college football. He combines a drive to win with great integrity and deep, long-standing connections in the state of Florida.  The future of USF football is very bright under his direction.”

Strong was 37-15 while at Louisville and won two Big East championships. He was 16-21 at Texas.

I would like to thank President Genshaft and Mark for their confidence and belief in me,” Strong said. “I am humbled that we have a shared commitment to take this university and this football program to even greater heights.  Some of the best football talent in the country is right here in the Bay Area and throughout the state of Florida, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work with the young men in the USF football program and build on the strong foundation already in place.” 

 From 2003-09, Strong’s defensive units at Florida produced 13 All-Americans and seven first-round NFL Draft picks. His units regularly ranked among the best in the nation statistically and allowed an average of just 17.6 points per game over that span, which ranked ninth in the country.

A native of Batesville, Ark., Strong was a three-year letter winner (1979-81) and three-time all-conference safety at Central Arkansas, which reached the NAIA Playoffs each of his final two seasons. He was also a two-time all-conference performer in track and field and graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in education. Strong was inducted into the Central Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. 

The No. 25-ranked Bulls (10-2) will take on South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field on Dec. 29. Interim Head Coach T.J. Weist will lead the Bulls in the bowl game. USF begins bowl practices on Sunday, Dec. 11 on the USF campus. USF will compete in the program’s eighth bowl game in just its 16th season of FBS football.



Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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