Today, the Louisville Cardinals made Chuck Strong the highest paid African-American head coach ever. He took Louisville to the Nokia Sugar Bowl one year after he led them to a 7-6 season.
The Cardinals finished 11-2 in 2012 and ended the season with a win over Strong’s former team, the Florida Gators.
The third-year head coach has been arguably one of the best coaches in the Big East for the past few seasons and has led them to two seven-win seasons and an 11-win season, including three bowl games.
It can be argued that Strong was one of the most overlooked hires of the 2010 season and Louisville came away with a gem of a coach, but is he worth the $3.7 million annual contract extension?
In my opinion, the coach is overpaid for such an early point in his coaching career. He made $2.3 million last year and took Louisville to their second BCS bowl game in school history–their first appearance in such a bowl since 2006.
Sure, Louisville has won two straight conference titles and coming off an 11-win season seems like the perfect time to offer the coach a record-breaking contract, but let’s not forget what conference he has had his success in.
The Big East is quite possibly the worst of the big conferences in football and the Cardinals had an easier schedule than most of the teams that made a BCS bowl game. They played one ranked team all season long (Florida) and lost two conference games against an average Syracuse team by 19 and a below-average Connecticut team by three.
They also played a lot of close games against mediocre teams such as Southern Mississippi, Florida International and South Florida. A win is a win, but in some cases, including BCS rankings, it’s the magnitude of the win against the teams you’re supposed to beat that counts.
If I was Louisville, I would have given him a little bit of a raise, maybe up to $3 million annually, but almost $4 million a year is way too much pay for a coach who has barely proved anything in one of the weaker big conferences in college football.