With Tom Jurich at his side, Rick Pitino spoke several minutes during his press conference the other day about what a special place the University of Louisville is to coach basketball. On and on he went, concluding that he wouldn’t want to coach anywhere else but Louisville.
At that point, retired TV sportscaster Bob Domine interjected, “Can you two take this act down the block and talk to Charlie?”
Charlie Strong, of course, the object of speculation for nearly every SEC coaching vacancy needing to be filled during the off season.
Jurich paused reflectively, “I think Charlie gets it, I really do. Deep down in my heart, I think Charlie gets it. I really do. He’s wise.”
Unfortunately, the next question was about the terms of Pitino’s new five-year contract, depriving UofL fans of further elaboration from Jurich.
Admittedly, there wasn’t much more he could have said because only Charlie Strong can decide what’s best for him and his family. Jurich has said he would match any offer and make Strong the highest paid coach in college football if necessary.
The sad thing about college football these days is that people have a tough time believing what anyone says in the sport. Even when Strong says on a nationally-syndicated show that he’s not interested in leaving, the speculation continues unabated. Arkansas, which has hired two of the last three UofL football coaches, is quiet publicly but said to be pursuing Strong through his agent.
UofL fans, who have been disappointed in their coaches so often, don’t know what to believe, resigned to hoping that Strong is different. Tom Jurich, who has been burned professionally and personally by the coaching departure, doesn’t have alternative but to believe in Charlie Strong. And keep his list of potential successors up to date.