Strong joins the Florida coaching staff for the fourth time in his career after serving as the defensive coordinator for South Carolina the past four years. Strong, 42, coached the defensive line at Florida from 1991-94, was the outside linebacker coach for the Gators in the 1988 and 1989 seasons and served as a graduate assistant coach in Gainesville in 1983 and 1984. He also coached the defensive line at Notre Dame for four years and has coaching stops at Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Southern Illinois.
"Charlie has a great track record," said Zook. "Charlie and I were both on the staff here at Florida and I know first-hand what he brings to the table. He is an outstanding coach, motivator and he always had the respect of the players. I know he will fit in well here with our team and coaching staff."
Strong has developed a reputation as one of the top defensive coaches in the nation, after his transformation of the South Carolina defense. The 2001 South Carolina defense ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense and third in total defense. The 2000 unit ranked first in the SEC and sixth nationally in scoring defense. Strong was a finalist for the 2000 Broyles Award, which recognizes college football's top assistant. His 1996 Notre Dame squad set a school record with 41.5 quarterback sacks.
"I'm excited about returning to Gainesville. The University of Florida is a special place and has all of the ingredients you need to be successful in college football " said Strong. "I'm looking forward to working again with Coach Zook."
Strong and his wife, Victoria, have two daughters; Hailee and Hope.
Strong replaces John Thompson, who was hired as the head coach at East Carolina on December 20th.
Charlie Strong Coaching History:
1999-2002, South Carolina, Defensive Coordinator
1995-98, Notre Dame, Assistant Coach (Defensive Line)
1994, Florida, Assistant Head Coach (Defensive Tackles)
1991-1993, Florida, Assistant Coach (Defensive Ends)
1990, Ole Miss, Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
1988-89, Florida, Assistant Coach (Outside Linebackers)
1986-87, Southern Illinois, Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
1985, Texas A&M, Graduate Assistant
1983-84, Florida, Graduate Assistant