Report: Strong to Texas, Cardinal legend hopes he doesn't leave

As assistants, both Crum at UCLA and Strong at Florida won National Championships.
As assistants, both Crum at UCLA and Strong at Florida won National Championships.
Coach Charlie Strong
Coach Charlie Strong
Denny Crum
Denny Crum

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The eyes of the college football world are on the University Texas and who will fill the school's vacant coaching job. Friday night, right after 11 p.m., began reporting University of Louisville football Coach Charlie Strong accepted the Texas job.  Although Yahoo Sports reported that Strong had not yet accepted the job or talked to University of Louisville officials.

As Louisville fans wait to hear if the latest about Strong is true, a Cardinal legend talked to WAVE 3 News about a similar situation he found himself in.

Basketball's Denny Crum has some amazing parallels with Strong when it comes to being courted by top programs.

Football and basketball are apples and oranges in the Bluegrass state, but the basketball Cards didn't become National Champs overnight. Some big decisions came into play and for Denny Crum they were the right ones.

Charlie Strong and Denny Crum are two University of Louisville coaches with a lot in common.

Both are well liked and popular with fans. We barely got in an interview Friday night at Butler High School as fans lined up for photos with the legendary coach. Crum was at Butler to see Luke, the son of his former player Roger Burkman who was on the floor for a Trinity Junior Varsity game.

As assistants, both Crum at UCLA and Strong at Florida won National Championships.

Both got their first head coaching jobs at the University of Louisville. Both men had early Cardinal success when they were approached by bigger schools with storied programs: For Strong, a Sugar Bowl win and for Crum a Final Four.

Arguably, the University of Texas is king when it comes to college football's deep pockets and in-state recruiting. And for basketball, it didn't get better back then than UCLA - the school that still holds the most NCAA Championship titles. And for Crum, what could be better than going back home to California to take over for his mentor and father figure the great John Wooden.

UCLA even offered Crum the job before he coached Louisville to it's first NCAA National Championship.

"It was hard to say no," Crum remembered. Still, he turned down college basketball's dream job three different times.

"I couldn't make myself leave Louisville," Crum said, "I had fallen in love with the people and their love for basketball."

In the end, Crum wanted to build something of his own in the River City. Ironically, his Louisville team beat UCLA in the 1980 Championship. He won it again in 1986, putting UofL Basketball among the sport's elite. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame and countless honors include having the floor named after him.

As reports continue to surface about Charlie Strong's future, his best advice?

"Not to let money be the deciding factor," he said, "Go with your heart because if you go with your heart, you usually make the right decision."

Crum said, "I've never looked back on it and said I wish I had (taken the job) because I never felt that way."

"I'm very happy with what I decided to do and I wouldn't change anything," Crum told us, "I can't speak for Charlie but, I know Louisville is a great place and he's doing such a great job and I'd hate to see him leave it now."

The coach said the offers from UCLA didn't upset his teams back then because it wasn't the social media game it is now.

Not to mention all the TV and radio talk shows that keep an eye on coaches and those vacancies 24/7.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.