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Yesterday, Cardinal Dominance presented the comments made by Head Coach Charlie Strong regarding questions about his future coaching intentions at the University of Louisville. In the end, there was a Big Elephant in the room that people were not ignoring. Why didn’t Charlie get rid of the obvious pachyderm and just put the rumors aside. Is something in the mix? However, at the same time, Coach Strong’s strength is his principles and what he thinks is right and what is wrong. Charlie felt that he should not comment on rumors --- and so right or wrong, he didn’t. See: STRONG: THE COACHING RUMORS AND THE FANS.
In yesterday’s article, Cardinal Dominance expressed concern about the message a radio station sports show was broadcasting to their fans. One person was very negative about Charlie because he presumably had blasted the fans. My best bud Bob latter told me that many fans had angrily disagreed with Charlie and how he had put us down. The crescendo further elevated during the day on other talk shows.
This person was in attendance at the Press Conference and yesterday strongly disagreed with the people who broadcasted those incendiary remarks --- and one of the most known announcers in the area questioned whether the other person was taking Charlie out of context. Today, I still strongly disagree about the claim that Charlie was bashing the U of L fans. This article’s sole purpose is to present his remarks.
Yesterday’s Press Conference was divided into 5 parts. The first 9 minutes and 35 seconds mostly spoke about the Rutgers game stars, the relationship Charlie had with some of the current Florida players, etc. The next 4:18 was spent on Charlie’s Coaching future. Most of these remarks were contained in our article yesterday. During the next 9:47 segment, Charlie spoke about more of the Florida matchups, the Cards’ strength and weakness against the Gators, and then his thoughts about the new uk coach’s remark about helping Florida State (his old team) PARTICULARLY if they were playing Louisville. The next 3:52 were initiated by questions regarding Charlie’s wish list for taking the program higher. This will be addressed today. This is where the alleged fan bashing occurred. The final 9:22 addressed some pretty cool topics --- when to expect the Cards to jump to the ACC, his main recruiting objectives this year, Teddy and Will at Rutgers, and what a stupendous job his Assistant Coaches put together at the Rutgers game.
And so, let’s address the 3 minute 52 second where Charlie talked about his wish list in his 36 minute 54 second Monday Press Conference.
REPORTER 1: “What would you like to see changed in this job ---- uh, the things that you feel this program needs moving forward. You’re in a position you probably can ask for about anything.”
The reporter’s question was presented with the inflections and the soft voice basically asking Strong for a wish list.
CHARLIE: “…. at the end of the season I think I can sit down with my A.D. --- and Tom will do anything that we ask --- it’s gonna be some things we need to get done --- we’ll be able to get them done to get this program to move to where it needs to move to.”
REPORTER 2: “Can you give us an example of something like that?”
CHARLIE: “Well, … we can talk about expanding the weight room which we’re gonna do and then ….. and then at some point and we get the program going we’d like to add more seats --- put more seats in the stands and enlarge our seating capacity.”
REPORTER #1: "What would you like to see from the fans? You know, you have been in S.E.C. schools and it’s a big deal --- and you all are playing Connecticut and you’re 9 and 1 and there are 42,000 fans in announced attendance. What would you like to see from them in terms of support for this program?”
Once again, the honest question was presented and it was almost a continuation of his first question asking for a wish list to help move the program higher except it incorporated the fan base into the question.
CHARLIE: “Well, you want the passion from the fans and you want the support. And I tell you what, this has frustrated me more than anything --- and we have great fans here --- but when we came here on Senior Day, the Connecticut game, we get off the bus and I don’t care what time Card March is, if it is 8:00 in the morning then it is 8:00 in the morning; but no one came out and for it to be Senior Day, --- we had a few people out there, I mean we had the real fans out there and I’m not trying to say we didn’t have anyone but you would like to see more fans come out. And I know I heard it’s new --- well, it’s not new. But I mean, when you support your program, you support your program. You want that. And we have fans that do support their program --- and not to throw any salt on the wound but kentucky (fans) can travel as the big blue nation and they go take over. We should have that same passion here and go take over when we go travel. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t. But someone told me we were such a young program and we have a young fan base and that doesn’t happen. But I don’t buy that. I just think that when you are passionate about something, you go support it. And it doesn’t matter who we play --- if it’s Connecticut, if it’s Pittsburgh, if it’s Syracuse, you come to support your team. You come to watch Teddy play. You come to watch Stein play. You come to watch Preston Brown play. You come to support your team. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side. Just look at the other conferences and I don’t think it is any different. Those fans come out to support their program not who they are playing against.”
We U of L fans are so lucky. Charlie is as real as it gets and he says how he feels. How many programs have a Coach that is that way? He was asked what he thought the fans could do that would help our program grow higher. He told us. He was honest. He wasn’t overly critical nor did he say it in a mean spirited way. I understand many people’s heartburn and I honestly don’t particularly like his thoughts on comparing us to the “virtues?” of uk fans. I promise you the least thing that I would want to do is to act like many uk fans that I have talked to through the years. Like many of us, I was a uk fan at one point and their fanaticism is unbearable and uncalled for. But, I can live with his phoopahh. There is nothing else in his comments that he hasn’t said before. It was an honest and non-threatening opinion that was solicitated from him by an honest and well meaning reporter. Except for the lousy comparison with wanting us to be like uk fans (Yuk! Vomit! and other digestive depreciating thoughts!), there is not anything that is new here and he did not lump us all together as being terrible fans. He just wishes we were more passionate about supporting his and our kids, our players, our seniors, and our team. What other Football Coach in the country wouldn’t want the same?
REPORTER 3: “Do you think playing in the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl and that visibility is going to be one of the things that leads to changing some of the things you are talking about here?”
CHARLIE: “Well, you would like to think it would but --- you would hope it would but also, it’s here. We have (it). I mean look at this city and I know it’s split down the middle or whatever. But we still have our fans here and our fans can support this program.”
That’s fair isn’t it?
REPORTER 4: “Does the fan support make it less comfortable for you as a Head Coach ….. (in staying as Head Coach)…?”
CHARLEY: “The fan base isn’t going to have anything to do with it (in staying as the Head Coach). I just look at them to support our players and I think our players deserve to get the fan support whomever they play. I think you should pack it in and whomever we play, you’re there to cheer on our players and that’s your role. But, you know, if we’re not winning, ok. Then I can see why you don’t want to come out there to support us but we’re sitting there at 9 and 0 and you’re right (the reporter). We don’t go and pack the stadium --- and we’re like 9 and 0. I mean, Wow. I mean we are at 9 and 0; what more do we need to do? And then we come back against Connecticut and we have Card March. I know this. At Ohio State, whatever they seat, they had a 12:00 game, too. They had a March and they filled it up.”
That was it regarding Charlie’s thoughts on how the fan base can help the move to the next level. Except for his uk passion comparison, there is not anything new that we haven’t heard before and surely not anything that should be interpreted as fan bashing.
In the next couple days, Cardinal Dominance will bring you some interesting bits from Head Coach Charlie Strong’s Press Conference like his response to the new uk coach statement about Louisville against Florida State in the Orange Bowl, ACC entrance timing, the Rutgers game stars, and what to look for in Florida.