Jurich thanks Strong, say job 'wide open'

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich met with the local media on Sunday, talking about the exit of former U of L coach Charlie Strong, the future of the program and details on what he's looking for in the next coach. Cardinal Authority was at the press conference and has the details.

Just over 12 hours after Charlie Strong officially gave him the word he was leaving for Texas, University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich met with the local media on the past and the future.

Jurich answered questions for almost 30 minutes on Strong's four-year tenure that he gave a grade of "A-plus, plus," talked about how the program is "in much better shape" right now and chatted about the future and how he had already been besieged with phone calls and inquiries about the job.

Strong and Jurich met for about an hour on Saturday night at Strong's house and ended with the two embracing in "a long hug," with Jurich noting that Strong has "become a close, close friend. He's done a lot for us here."

"I was able to talk to him about the job and more importantly thank him for what he did here for us," Jurich said. "He changed the culture."

Strong accepted the Texas job and is expected to sign a deal today that will pay him five years at $5 million a year.

Jurich said he had been in contact with Strong all week and knew he was likely going to take the job. Jurich was in Colorado on vacation and cut the vacation short and then had trouble traveling home because of the weather.

"I think he had made up his mind by the time I got there," Jurich said. "It was a dream of his and he certainly earned it. He became a hot commodity."

Jurich said he had no ill will towards Strong because of the situation, repeating several times that he "knew exactly what was going on the whole time."

U of L did not make a counter offer to the Texas deal.

"This had nothing to do with finances," Jurich said. "I don't even think he went into this thinking he'd be the head coach at Texas."

Jurich later in the news conference added that Texas was one of the "premier, premier programs in the country."

Jurich said he thanked Strong for his time and commitment to U of L, noting the play on the field and the culture off the field were "so much better off," now because of what Strong and his staff had accomplished.

"Once I knew he was going to Texas, I just wanted him to know how much I appreciated the job he did," Jurich said. " . . Every expectation I had for Charlie at this university he exceeded. Every, single one."

Jurich called the U of L position a "destination job" and confirmed that he would most quickly to replace Strong.

"The sooner the better," he said.

The athletic director estimated he had already been contacted by 100 or 200 coaches or their representatives, noting the job is "wide open."

But Jurich said he has a short list and "have been looking at it for four snowy days," while he was snowed in on vacation in Colorado.

He declined to mention names but when asked if he would consider former U of L coach Bobby Petrino said he would "consider everybody."

Jurich noted the school is moving into the ACC and it's "an attractive" job.

**Jurich will run the team meeting at 3 o'clock today with the current players. Strong is not expected to attend and is on his way to Austin.

**Jurich also said it would be up to the new coach if he wanted to keep any of the current staff members who don't go to Texas.

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