Strong receives contract extension

The University of Louisville has extended the contract of football coach Charlie Strong seven years, boosting his association with the Cardinals through the 2018 season.

The University of Louisville has extended the contract of football coach Charlie Strong seven years, boosting his association with the Cardinals through the 2018 season.

Leading the Cardinals to their first bowl appearance - a win in the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl - in three seasons in 2010, Strong had four years remaining on his current contract, which would have tied him with the Cardinals through the 2015 season.

"I like the direction the program is going in," said U of L Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "I've evaluated Charlie from A to Z and have been impressed how he handles this program. I like what he stands for and I'm impressed by his work ethic and passion. I see nothing but positives going forward and like what he is trying to establish at Louisville. I told Charlie when I hired him that I wanted him to build a program and I'm excited by the future. It's easy to see how the student-athletes have bought into his system both on and off the field. I think we have some great young talent in this program and they play very hard."

Strong was hired Dec. 9, 2009, and made an immediate impact on the program. Strong guided a senior-laden team to a 7-6 overall record and a 31-28 win in the Beef `O'Brady's Bowl versus Southern Mississippi. It was an improvement of three games, which was one of the best in the country.

Taking over after three-straight losing campaigns, Strong guided the Cardinals to a pair of shutout-wins over Memphis and Connecticut, and stopped the Cardinals' 11-game BIG EAST road losing streak with a 28-20 win over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Cardinals became bowl eligible with another big road win, a 40-13 victory over Rutgers. For his efforts, Strong became the first U of L head football coach to garner BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors when he was tabbed the 2010 co-BIG EAST Coach of the Year.

Off the field, Strong put an immediate emphasis on showing improvement in the classroom. Under Strong's eye in the spring of 2010, 40 football players were named to the athletic director's academic honor for achieving at least a 3.0 grade-point average, 13 were named to the dean's list (requires semester GPA of 3.5-3.999 and no grades of `C' or below) and, collectively, the team secured a 2.7 grade-point average.

The following semester, the fall of 2010, the Cardinals' football team had 37 student-athletes recognized on the athletic director's academic honor roll, with 11 earning dean's list status and one capturing the dean's scholar award.

In the spring of 2011, two student-athletes were named dean's scholars, 12 reached the dean's list and 36 Cardinals were tabbed athletic director's academic honor roll members. The team maintained a 2.65 grade-point average. With the completion of the summer courses, the Cardinals' freshman recruiting class posted its second-straight above 3.0-grade point average. In 2010, the group earned a 3.44 GPA, and this summer, the newcomers finished with a 3.185 mark.

Strong brought two National Championships, 20 different appearances in bowl games and over 27 years of experience to the sidelines at U of L. Prior to taking over at Louisville, Strong spent seven seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida, including his last two as the Associate Head Coach. It was his fourth different stint at UF, having coached at Florida from 1991-94; 1988-89 and 1983-84. He served as Florida's interim head coach in 2004, falling to Miami 27-10 in the Peach Bowl.

From 1999-2002, Strong served as defensive coordinator at South Carolina, earning finalist honors for the Broyles Award in 2000. He guided the Gamecocks to a top-20 national ranking in total defense twice, while the 2000 squad ranked sixth in the country in scoring defense after yielding just 15.8 points per game. Strong also spent four seasons at Notre Dame, overseeing the defensive line that registered a single-season school-record 41.5 sacks in 1997.

A four-year letterwinner at Central Arkansas, Strong was a three-time All-Conference selection in football and a two-time honoree in track. He is married to the former Victoria Lovallo, and the couple has two daughters, Hailee (13) and Hope (10), and one son, Tory (23).

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