Sunday, January 11, 2009
It's been eight years since Charlie Strong almost became Vanderbilt's coach — so what happened?
Without a doubt, Vanderbilt made a great choice when it hired Bobby Johnson as head football coach in 2001. Remember the other finalist for the job?
It was Charlie Strong, the exceptional defensive coordinator for the national championship Florida Gators. Strong was the first black coordinator in the SEC when he took the top defensive job for Lou Holtz's South Carolina Gamecocks in 1999. He was Ron Zook's defensive coordinator at Florida and was kept on when Urban Meyer took the Gator's head coaching job.
It'd be interesting to know what would have happened at Vanderbilt with Strong at the helm. Strong recently told a newspaper that he would have gotten a head coaching job with a Southern school by now if he hadn't married a white woman. I don't think he was talking about Vanderbilt. I can't imagine that would have kept him from getting the Commodore job. Maybe the Auburn job. Some folks speculate online that Strong actually was offered the Vanderbilt job before Johnson but turned it down because he thought it was beneath him.
Anyway, we made a good choice with Johnson, but I think another team would be wise to pick Strong. Maybe he'll have to go to the NFL to get a top job. We'll see.