Strong staying at UofL - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Strong staying at UofL

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The future of University of Louisville Head Football Coach Charlie Strong is set. Strong will stay with the Cardinals, having turned down the head coaching job at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Strong will have a hefty new contract. Sources say when negotiations wrap up, Strong could make more than $4 million a year.

Strong will formally announce his decision during a news conference at 8 a.m. Thursday in the football recruiting lounge of the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.  

WAVE 3 plans to stream the press conference live on wave3.com.

On Monday, Strong said he would announce his future plans when the time was right, opening the door for speculation from fans and members of the media.

On Tuesday, ESPN reported that Strong had emerged as the leading candidate at Tennessee, a traditional football power in the powerful Southeastern Conference with a stadium that seats more than 100,000 people.

"I think the biggest difference going into that conference and into the Big East conference is that when you go into a stadium, it's just like people love football," Strong said in January 2011. "They pack them in. You're going to go into a 98,000, you're going to go into a 100,000 and just the love for the ball."

14 months ago, UofL approved a contract extension for Strong that paid him $2.3 million a season. At the time, he was 9-10 as the Cardinals' head coach. 

"We really want to build stability and consistency in our program as we go forward, and I think Charlie has been just a tremendous leader for us and a fabulous ambassador for this university and this city," UofL Athletic Director Tom Jurich said in October 2011.

Since signing that extension, Strong has led the Cards to a 15-4 record and most important, by getting the football program back on the national stage, he helped get the University of Louisville into the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"This is what has to happen, people have got to start respecting this program," Strong said on Monday. "I know what has happened in the past here, maybe coaches have come and ran out of here and whatever, but if you don't ever respect your program, then the rumors do happen."

With the benefits the school expects to reap from the ACC, both athletically and academically, in the big picture Strong's hefty new contract is a small price to pay.

In the end, coaches' decisions affect lives across the board, from their own children to assistant coaches and their families. Strong had a lot to weigh, and now everyone can start focusing on the January 2 Sugar Bowl.

Copyright 2012 WAVE 3 News.  All rights reserved.

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