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Charley Strong

Title Head coach
College Louisville
Sport Football
Born August 2, 1960 (1960-08-02) (age 49)
Place of birth Batesville, Arkansas
Career highlights
Coaching stats
College Football DataWarehouse
Playing career
1980–1983 Central Arkansas
Coaching career (HC unless noted)

Florida (Graduate asst.)
Texas A&M (Graduate asst.)
Southern Illinois (WR)
Florida (OLB)
Ole Miss (WR)
Florida (Asst. HC / DT)
Notre Dame (DE / DT)
South Carolina (DC)
Florida (DC / DE)
Florida (interim HC)
Florida (Asst. HC/ co-DC / LB)

Charley R. Strong (born August 2, 1960) is an American college football coach and former player. Strong currently serves as the head coach for the University of Louisville located in Louisville, Kentucky, and has previously held assistant coach and coordinator positions with six different college football teams.



Charley Strong was born in in Batesville, Arkansas. After lettering for four years (1980–1983) at the University of Central Arkansas, Strong joined the Gator coaching staff as a graduate assistant in 1983. He later served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 1985. His first full-time coaching job was at Southern Illinois in 1986, where he coached wide receivers. He later assumed defensive coaching duties at Florida and Notre Dame. He also received a master's degree and education specialist degree from the University of Florida.

In 1999, Strong joined the South Carolina Gamecocks as defensive coordinator, becoming the first African American coordinator in Southeastern Conference history. His stifling defenses and charismatic personality created buzz that he would be possibly the first black head coach in the SEC, but job offers were slim. Sylvester Croom eventually broke the color barrier in the SEC coaching ranks.

Strong was hired as defensive coordinator for the Gators before the 2003 season. Florida head coach Ron Zook was fired midway through the Gators' 2004 season, but continued to coach until the bowl game; Strong served as interim coach of the Gators for one game, the December 2004 Peach Bowl. Florida lost the game, 27–10, to the Miami Hurricanes. Florida credits the regular season to Zook and the Peach Bowl to Strong. When Urban Meyer was hired as Florida's head coach, Strong was the only assistant coach retained from Zook's staff.

In a January 2009 interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Strong expressed his belief that race played a large part in the reason that he hadn't been offered a head coaching job at that point. Strong, whose wife is white, especially cited prospective employers' discomfort with his interracial relationship.[1]

He became the 21st head coach at the University of Louisville on December 9, 2009. In a telephone interview that day with columnist Pat Forde, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, himself African American, said of Strong, "When they see what he can do, you're probably going to have a lot of people disappointed they didn't hire him sooner." Forde himself said that "Louisville righted the biggest ongoing wrong in college football",[2] and added,

...a state with a troubled racial history now stands at the vanguard of football coaching integration. In addition to Strong at Louisville and (Willie) Taggart at Western Kentucky, black offensive coordinator Joker Phillips is the coach-in-waiting at Kentucky — and current coach Rich Brooks could retire as soon as after the Music City Bowl on Dec. 27.[2][3]

Record as head football coach

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Rank#
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (2004–2004)
2004 Florida 0–1 0–0 L 27–10 Peach Bowl
Florida: 0–1
Louisville Cardinals (Big East Conference) (2010–2010)
2010 Louisville 0–0 0–0
Louisville: 0–0 0–0
Total: 0–1[4]
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
Indicates BCS bowl game. #Rankings from final Coaches Poll.

Personal life

Strong was born August 2, 1960 in Batesville, Arkansas. He and his wife, Victoria, have two daughters, Hallie and Hope. Charley Strong's son from a previous relationship, Torrence Perfetti, attends college in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. ^ "Florida Coach Charlie Strong Believes that Race Affected Opportunities," Sports Illustrated (January 6, 2009).
  2. ^ a b Forde, Pat (2009-12-10). "Strong's struggle for respect ends". Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  3. ^ Brooks indeed retired following the bowl game, with Phillips replacing him as intended.
  4. ^ College Football Data Warehouse, All-Time Coaching Records, Charlie Strong Records by Year. Retrieved March 11, 2010.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ron Zook
University of Florida Interim Head Football Coach
Succeeded by
Urban Meyer
Preceded by
Steve Kragthorpe
University of Louisville Head Football Coach
2010 – Present
Succeeded by
None—Current Coach


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