Louisville AD on Strong: 'His daughters will have lunch money tomorrow'
Posted by: Josh Kendall on December 7, 2012
A lot of people were impressed Louisville coach Charlie Strong turned down a Southeastern Conference job to stay with the Cardinals this week. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich is not one of them.
"I have a lot of respect for the Southeastern Conference, but they are human just like we are," Jurich said. "They are not going to be pouring any more money into their program than I am pouring into this one."
Jurich promised Strong a raise upon his return, but the two men didn't begin to talk specifics until after Strong turned down the Tennessee job, Jurich said Thursday during a news conference. Jurich will extend Strong's contract to eight years but declined to say what the final salary might be.
"We never even talked about a number through this whole thing," Jurich said. "I just said trust me. I am going to take care of you. I promise his daughters will have lunch money tomorrow. He deserves it. He's going to get his market value."
Which means he will probably be one of the top 10 paid coaches in the country because Jurich believes Louisville is a top 10 job, he said repeatedly Thursday.
"Everybody always looks at us as a long shot, and we're not," Jurich said. "We're not an underdog. I truly believe now as of 7:40 last Wednesday morning when (ACC commissioner) John Swofford called us, we're a top 10 job in the country. Somebody debate that with me please because I will debate that until I am dead."
In his news conference turning down the job, Strong talked about how meaningful it was that Jurich gave him a contract extension when the Cardinals were 2-4 last year.
"I did it because I thought he was invaluable. Fit is a very important thing to me. It is very, very important to me, and Charlie fits. What kind of AD would I have been to turn my back on a guy because he was 2-4?" Jurich said. "It is easy to sit back and criticize. I think the key thing for me to do was to get behind him and show him my support. He has never taken that for granted."
Even with all that, Jurich wasn't sure Strong would stay until the men met Wednesday evening, he said.
"Was I nervous? Are you nuts?" he said. "Of course, I was nervous."
Josh Kendall is a staff writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered the SEC for more than 15 years for papers such as the Athens Banner-Herald, Macon Telegraph, and The State. He’s the father of two boys who he’s hoping don’t inherit his wide receiver frame and offensive guard feet. Follow @EyeOnCoaches on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org