Texas head coach Charlie Strong may not have the support of Longhorn boosters, but he’s got his players, and that’s going to make this break-up even messier.
After his Longhorns lost to Kansas for the first time since 1938 on Saturday, the end of the 56-year old’s tenure in Austin seemed to arrive. Strong’s final day was reportedly Sunday, but that was before Texas refuted a Austin American-Statesman report that Strong was officially out, saying in a statement from athletic director Mike Perrin that the report was premature. Now, his players are making it known to the public that Strong is their coach of choice, even if his fate is sealed.
At Strong’s Monday press conference, he spoke about his future in burnt orange, telling the media he does not believe the Texas administration has made its final decision and that he would like to be back next year, per 247Sports’s Chris Hummer. He also said his players will not boycott the upcoming regular season finale against TCU as a move of support. Adding another wrinkle to the situation, a group of Longhorn players gathered for Strong’s press conference and gave the coach a standing ovation and embraced him when he walked over to greet them at the conclusion of the Q&A.
Texas defensive tackle Paul Boyette was emotional when speaking to the media about Strong following the press conference, praising the coach for being a mentor as well as a coach for the athletes.
The Longhorns and Horned Frogs will play Friday at 3:30 p.m. There’s been talk online of Strong still having a shot at saving his job with a win against 5-5 TCU, a conversation that can only be categorized, like his axing, as yet another hypothetical option in a convoluted, drawn-out firing process.