Louisville AD Would Match Salaries With 'Anybody In College' To Keep Charlie Strong

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 8:52 am  

Is Louisville Coach Charlie Strong an option for Arkansas? (Photo by Louisville Sports Information)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Louisville is prepared to spend whatever it takes to keep Charlie Strong.

Not that Strong is thinking about leaving anytime soon.

On the same day Strong told Jim Rome that he was “fine where I’m at,” Cardinals Athletic Director Tom Jurich told Jeremy Folwer of CBSSports.com that he would “match any salary.”

Strong, who has been mentioned as a candidate that would make sense in Arkansas’ coach search, is currently making $2.3 million and has a seven-year deal with Louisville. Because of his Arkansas roots and ties to the SEC, Strong’s name has come up frequently in discussions about the next Razorback coach.

Louisville is 5-0 under Strong this season. He’s got the Cardinals ranked No. 19 and they’re 19-12 overall in his tenure.

Leaving that success behind is not something Strong is interested in doing, he told Rome on Wednesday:

"I always said this: The athletic director here, the president here, gave me my first opportunity. I know a lot of times that your name comes up with all of these different jobs. But when someone has reached out to you, then I owe it to (Louisville) to uphold what we’ve been talking about. I know that phone call, I’m not saying it may come, it may not come because the name is out there. When I got this job, my name wasn’t even in the mix with the Louisville job. So I’m fine. I am. … I am fine where I’m at and I have a lot of backing here. My family is here. They love it here. I’m pretty comfortable where I’m at.”

Strong had this to say to a follow-up question regarding loyalty:

“It does. You don’t just walk away. A lot of times we think that grass is greener on the other side. You don’t walk away when you’re building a program. And then I look at the players that I recruited here. So I told them to come here for me and for this university and then all of a sudden I get a shot to go somewhere else and I walk away from them? I’m just not cut like that.”

Sticking with Louisville could be lucrative for Strong. Per Eric Crawford of WDRB Sports in Louisville, Strong is in line for a $2.5 million “loyalty” bonus if he remains with the Cardinals until 2015. Crawford reports Strong has a $2.5 million buyout that drops to $1 million on June 30, 2014.

Louisville is prepared to spend more to keep Strong around if needed:

"I will match anybody's salary," Jurich told CBSSports.com. "I will match anybody in college."

Arkansas was paying Bobby Petrino $3.56 million. How much higher would the Razorbacks be willing to go for the right coach? Is Strong the “right coach?”



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