Nearly everyone thinks Texas did right when they tapped Charlie Strong to be their next head coach—everyone outside of Texas, anyway.
Local papers have greeted Strong's hire with (racially loaded) shrugs, and here comes one of the Longhorn's biggest boosters to say outright, this isn't the guy we wanted. Former Spurs, Nuggets, and Vikings owner Red McCombs, who's donated more than $100 million to UT and has his name on the business school and a statue in the football stadium, gave an interview on ESPN radio in San Antonio this morning. The welcome wagon has broken down before it left the garage.
"I think the whole thing is a bit sideways," McCombs said of the selection process. "I don't have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator."
Ed note: Oh snap.
"But I don't believe [Strong belongs at] what should be one of the three most powerful university programs in the world right now at UT-Austin. I don't think it adds up."
What we have here is a fundamental disconnect between how certain folks at Texas see the program, and how the rest of the country sees it. McCombs is convinced that the cachet of the Longhorn gig—plus all the money boosters can throw—should be enough to lure any coach. Just last week McCombs called it "the best coaching job in America," and declared, "They can get anyone they want. They can close their eyes and go 'eeny-meeny-miny-moe' and end up with someone good."
Note that that was after Nick Saban declined to jump ship, so not anyone.
On a more petty level, these grapes might be sour because McCombs had his own man in mind for the job. He has been pushing hard for Jon Gruden, and is furious that the search committee wouldn't take his advice. Gruden, McCombs said in another interview today, would have won five titles in 15 years at Texas. I guess we'll never know.