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I know it's been a while since the last time I blogged, but I feel that there's an issue that needs to be addressed, and that's all the insecurity and inferiority that surrounds University of Louisville Head Football Coach Charlie Strong and how long people assume he's going to stick around.
Ever since Howard Schnellenberger resigned abruptly after the 1994 season to accept the head coaching job at the University of Oklahoma (a decision he still probably regrets to this very day), there's been a negative perception that's been hanging over the heads of Cardinal Football fans, a negative perception that coaches are only gonna come and stay for a little while before they head off to bigger and better things, like the embarrassing, humiliating, and insulting way that John L. Smith dissed us for Michigan State back in 2002, or the way Bobby Petrino dissed us with his one eye on his current job and the other eye on a bigger job arrogance he displayed practically his entire tenure at the 'Ville (2003-06).
And then there have been the ones who accepted the job before they were ready to deal with foundation of demands and high level of standards that coach Schnellenberger helped us to establish during his 10-year tenure from 1985-94, like Ron Cooper's inconsistent tenure from 1995-97, and the Steve Kragthorpe debacle from 2007-09. Who can blame us for feeling this way, with all the coaching issues we've had to deal with since coach Schnellenberger's departure in '94? First, there's Ron Cooper's disciplinary inconsistencies, John L. Smith's embarrassing lack of disciplinary control, Bobby Petrino's wandering eye for his next job, and finally, Steve Kragthorpe and the fact that he was a complete mismatch for the program to begin with. However, I believe in coach Charlie Strong enough to know that not only does he want to be here, but he can also envision the football team and the men's basketball team being on the same competitive level.
Even though I'm too young to remember the ambiance and euphoria surrounding Denny Crum's arrival back in 1971 (I was only 5 years old at the time), I can appreciate how people felt judging by everything I've read in the history books. I can also envision Charlie Strong making the same impact on Louisville football that Denny Crum made on Louisville basketball. What shows me that he'll be here longer than people anticipate is his reaction to the recruiting class for 2011. While we fans were happy, overjoyed, and euphoric with the recruiting haul, in coach Strong's eye, we can do better. He sees this as the way we need to recruit in order to compete in the BCS. He sees this as the norm, whereas we were starstruck and shell-shocked due to the fact that we haven't grown accustomed to this level of success just yet. But don't worry, he will show us how not only to appreciate this new found level of success we're embarking upon, but to expect it on an annual basis as well. He's gonna teach us to strive for, and achieve, a high level of standards unseen around here before. What I'm tryin' to say more or less is that he's not the type to build a house halfway up and then walk away, he's the type who will be there until the house is built up completely from beginning to end.
So let us Cardinal fans allow ourselves to be reassured and relaxed and not looking over our shoulders anticipating something going wrong. Let's trust in him enough to feel that he will be here to see the job completely done. He's already shown me a great deal of honesty and integrity and I'm asking all of you to do the same. Bottom line is that if we allow ourselves to act like we're a steppingstone school, we'll be treated like a steppingstone school. Charlie Strong believes in the fan base, the school, and the players to feel like we can win here as much as they do at Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, Florida, and other superpower schools in the BCS. It's time for us to believe in ourselves to know that it can be done here as well as anywhere else in the country. IT CAN BE DONE, NO DOUBT. GO CARDS!!!