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The rumors of Louisville’s Head Coach Charlie Strong were discussed --- and not discussed at his Monday Press Conference that was the most highly attended meeting of Charlie’s weekly noon Monday meetings of the year with all the different media outlets in Louisville. The topic was breached with the first comment made by Charlie as he started his press conference: “Lately, there have been a lot of rumors about my name surfacing about these job openings but I am not here to discuss the rumors I am here to talk about our Football Team ……..”
Much more transpired during the next 38 minutes but within 20 minutes after his press conference was finished, a radio show was asking what was Charlie holding back and why had he dogged the Cardinal fans. There was a seasoned vet who is also regularly seen and/or heard on a national venue that was co-anchoring this particular sports show. He immediately started questioning whether Charlie would have ripped the fans the way he was being portrayed to have done. In the next day or so, we will revisit what Charlie said about the fans but make it known now, he was not bashing them. C.D. will present more of that conversation and his other points in his Monday Press Conference in the next day or so.
However, today, the hot issue is the Coaching rumors that are swirling --- and Charlie did get around to commenting on those innuendos.
His first comment had to do with a question about what he tells his recruits: “I just tell them I am the University of Louisville Head Football Coach.” He was asked about if would be the coach in the future and other questions arose but Charlie just said he wasn’t going to comment on rumors. But then he did say something that has been dwelt upon in the past: “But you know what? …. I have a great job here so why do I ever have to answer questions.”
Charlie was asked if he is getting annoyed with all the rumors. He responded: “I get annoyed, very annoyed because a lot of times when those rumors come out, those people don’t know exactly what they are talking about so why get started? ….. why would you (sports reporters) start running with something that you have no idea what you are running with?”
Charlie then talked about fans have got to respect the program more. He commented that he knows a couple coaches ran out and further stated “but you need to respect your program or the rumors do happened …… why would you guys (the reporters) keep putting it out there for no reason.”
Then there was some fast exchange mostly about the report that was generated by Auburn sources and someone said Charlie should have clarified that he wasn’t contacted. Charlie said “I never needed to clarify that because they (Auburn) never asked me that so I didn’t need to clarify that --- and that is what I said (earlier) ‘I am never gonna deal in rumors.’ So people can say whatever they want to about me. They have always said it. But if I didn’t say it, I am not gonna deal with it.”
Someone brought up that different coaches had made statements that turned out to be false and that is why people think that Coaches do not have a great deal of credibility. Strong chuckled and said “the guys who write the articles have got to have the credibility, too.”
When Charlie was asked if he would be willing to put all the rumors aside and say he was going to be the Head Football Coach at the University of Louisville next year and Charlie related: “… I will say that at the right time.”
The comment was made that this is causing more speculation and Charlie said “I know that but let’s get on with the game (Rutgers/Florida).”
Charlie’s conversation with the press causes different thoughts to be conjured up in many peoples’ minds. First, he could cause himself a lot less frustration if he would just come out and say he was staying. So is the reason he does not say he is staying is because he is speaking to other sources? Or second, is he sincere about his statement about not making comments about rumors?
He is definitely --- as he said in his own words, “annoyed.” Also, Charlie has shown through numerous instances (Darius Ashley, B.J. Dubose, the Clemson transfer Bryce McNeal, etc.) that he is highly principled. His reputation and his word are his most closely held assets. Most things are right or wrong and there is not any gray area. Regarding the current situation, a person could quickly say Strong does not want to say something false so he won’t comment on having discussions with other schools. However, another logical person could also see that Charlie abhors rumors and since he has said he will not comment about them he won’t.
Personally, both scenarios work for me. Firstly, he is very principled and he doesn’t want to make a false statement --- but I am referring to the statement when Strong said that he has told these kids that he is not going to leave Louisville in the near future. Charlie is a father figure to many of these guys and he knows it. He is a principled person and I just can’t imagine that he would have told them that if he didn’t mean it. Secondly, at this point in his career, he just wants to focus on the next game and keep his guys aimed in the correct direction --- and he doesn’t want to deal with these rumors --- and he is a bit miffed with sports reporters for continuing to talk about these rumors.
If that is the case, does it mean that the fans are just too paranoid? A discerning person could say “Yes, they are.” I say “Yes we are but we have a right to be paranoid.” We’ve been mislead a number of times --- however, we have to learn how to handle it better. Jurich said it best: “At some point in time, the person has to want to be here.” I wonder if our paranoia is making it harder and harder for Charlie to want to be here.