These occasions never get old, the ones where Tom Jurich pulls off still another unbelievable feat for the University of Louisville.
An outsider would get the impression that it’s just another day on the job. People close to the university know days, months and years of preparation precede the successes.
That’s probably why Jurich and Charlie Strong never discussed salary or contract at any point during the four hectic days leading up to Strong’s decision to remain as UofL football coach.
“We just began work on a new contract an hour and a half ago,” said Jurich at an 11 a.m. press conference Thursday. “He knows we will take good care of him and his assistants. Always have and will continue to do so.”
Jurich learned of Strong’s final decision around 7 p.m. Wednesday, saying he was greatly relieved to get the word. “It was emotional. He’s a man of high integrity and that shone though in his actions.
“What he does on the football field is terrific. It’s grandiose and it’s wonderful but what I really take notice of is what he does off the football field. You look at the kids in his program. You don’t read a lot about them for the wrong reasons. They’re going to class. He doesn’t do it because he’s their football coach; he does it because he believes in them.”
Jurich said the UofL football job is now among the top 10 jobs in the country, largely as a result of Louisville being accepted into the Atlantic Coast Conference a week ago. “When John Swofford called us last week this became one of the top 10 football jobs in the country,” he said. “I firmly believe that. Somebody please debate me on that please. I’ll debate that until I drop dead.”
He added that Charlie Strong’s success was essential to getting the bid. “It was important. I think all of your programs need to be excelling. We don’t want to be a one sport school, we want to be excelling in all 23 sports. And I think the ACC caught wind of that.”
Jurich said he and Strong still haven’t discussed a number. “He at a very high level, and I’m going to pay him what he’s worth. I can promise you his daughters will have lunch money tomorrow.”
“Charlie told me, ‘Don’t worry about me, take care of my coaches,’” he said. “We will fight everybody tooth and nail to keep him. He loves it here, his family loves it here.”