LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Charlie Strong had a picture of every UofL head football coach since Frank Camp put on the wall as you enter the upper level of the Howard Schnellenberger complex. On Saturday, December 28, he has a chance to do something none of those men could do, win a third bowl game at UofL.
"Well it means a lot and I just think about just how much we have accomplished in four years, and the coaching staff has been unbelievable, has done a great job," Strong told WAVE 3 Sports on Tuesday. "I look at this senior class more than anything, and I look at the last two years, I said last year you were 11-2, this season we're 11-1, with one more to go, but you're 22-3 over the last two years. Something that a lot of people thought could never be accomplished here. You're 36-15 over the last 4 years, but it's special, and I told them what's even more special is that you're going to walk out of here with a college education, as a graduate of the University of Louisville, and that means so much to a lot of those players because when they talk about it Kent, they're like well coach, we never would have finished if wouldn't have came here. You made us go to class, and I say, well you have no option, because that's what life is about, it's about getting a degree and making sure that you become a winner on the field as well as off the field."
Strong will lead the #18 Cards (11-1) into the Russell Athletic Bowl against Miami (Florida) (9-3).
Meanwhile his name continues to be linked to the current opening at Texas and potential openings in the National Football League.
"You're always going to get it from recruits and you're always going to get it from other coaches across the country, because they're going to use it against you in recruiting because, he won't be there, and this is going to happen, look at the coaches that have been, they have left, but we have something, we can build something special here, and that's what it's all about is just building our own program and putting our own signature on the program," Strong said.
His loyalty to UofL was only strengthened when the university stood behind assistant Clint Hurtt after he was involved in the NCAA investigation at Miami.
It definitely got Strong's attention. "It's amazing, but when you have a president like Dr. Ramsey, and you have a boss like Tom Jurich, you know this, that they're always in your corner. When we spoke about the Clint case and even about myself, it's always been, hey whatever you think Charlie, whatever we need to do we'll get it done."
Another issue that Strong and the Cards will have to deal with over the next month is the future of star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is widely considered to be the top quarterback prospect in next springs NFL Draft.
"I don't think it will ever be a money thing with him, there's just so much pride with him. He's always to where he can take of his mom and make my life better, and I would say to him, "More power to you." It won't be a money thing for him, because I really and truly believe that he loves where he is, he loves college football."
Strong and the Cards leave for Orlando, Florida on Sunday, December 22. The Russell Athletic Bowl kicks off at 6:45 p.m. on the 28th.
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