Louisville Cardinals Reward Charlie Strong with Big Contract

By Tim Letcher

The Louisville Cardinals made a strong (pardon the pun) statement by offering head coach Charlie Strong an offer that pays him around $3.7 million per year over eight years.

Strong has turned the Louisville program into a national power in his short time in the Derby City. Last season, Louisville was 11-2, including a 33-23 win over the Florida Gators in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

With his new contract, Strong is now among the highest-paid coaches in college football. He trails only Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns, Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners, Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Les Miles of the LSU Tigers in annual salary.

Louisville made the offer to Strong after he was mentioned as a candidate for the head coaching jobs of the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Tennessee Volunteers. Strong denied an interest in either position.

Athletic Director Tom Jurich made it clear to Strong that he wanted him to be the head man of the Cardinals’ program for many years to come. In fact, the contract stipulates that Strong must pay a $5 million buyout if he leaves U of L in 2013. The buyout declines by $625,000 each year that Strong stays.

The Cardinals are being mentioned as a BCS contender in 2013 with the return of Heisman Trophy candidate Teddy Bridgewater. If U of L is able to make it to the BCS Championship, Jurich would certainly see his investment on Strong as a positive one.

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