As it is for anyone, earning more money is the goal of any Division I head football coach, whether that be at their current institution or moving on to greener pastures. Either way, more money equals more problems – yes, that was a Biggie Smalls reference — and this will certainly be the case for Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong as the 2013 off-season draws into the 2013 slate.
Did he deserve the $1.4 million raise that will guarantee him $3.7 million a year over the next eight years?
Does it present him with challenges typically reserved for the more traditional BCS powers?
Coming off an 11-2 finish in 2012 — which included a 33-23 win over the Florida Gators at the Orange Bowl (arguably the biggest win in program history) — expectations are through the roof for the 2013 version of the Louisville Cardinals.
With the return of Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at the helm of the offense, Louisville is one of those teams that’s no longer under the radar, but instead just on the fringes of being in the BCS National Championship mix should a few cards fall in their favor next fall.
While this is great for the program, Charlie Strong will face more pressure than he has to date in his professional career. Sure, by its essence, Louisville is a basketball school. Rick Pitino has the eyes of the Cardinal Nation firmly fixed on him until March Madness ends, but I promise you, when it does the talk of the town during the summer — and the focus of both the local and regional press — will be the 2013 Cardinals football team.
Strong has been able to build the Louisville program while somewhat in the shadows, in the background. While I’m far from saying that there wasn’t a core group of passionate fans who care deeply about Louisville football and were supporting him along the way — this is undoubtedly the case — that fan base wasn’t nearly as invested as they will be now after a major bowl victory against a traditional BCS power like Florida.
Is Charlie Strong the man to handle this new-found scrutiny and pressure?
The Louisville administration certainly seems to think so.
We’ll find out shortly.