As is obvious to everyone (with or without sources) the Charlie Strong Era of Texas Football has stumbled off this mortal coil. In the coming days or weeks, someone will sign the certificate and make it official, but it’s over. The fatal blow probably came sometime well before the final kick went through the Kansas uprights and the several dozen Jayhawk fans in attendance spilled onto the field, but that’s a good enough place to note the time and call it.
There are going to be a great many words written about Where It All Went Wrong, and even more about What We Do Now, and I’ll happily let someone else write them, because I’m pretty terrible at holistic analysis and even worse at reasonable speculation. But in the disappointment and frustration of the moment, I don’t want it left unsaid that Charlie Strong has done far more good than not in his three short years here, and it’s worthy of our appreciation.
Strong stepped into a culture of entitlement and complacency whose rot had festered and grown until it finally reached the surface for even the most casual observer to plainly see. To his own detriment and the program’s lasting gain, he painfully and swiftly removed every last piece of it, replacing it with meritocracy and accountability. Handed a roster comprised largely of mismatched, poorly evaluated and woefully underperforming parts, he spent two-plus classes reversing the damage and putting together a group so talented that it’s hard to even imagine what the ceiling might be. Whoever comes next will reap the benefits of Charlie’s evaluation and recruiting with a cupboard so stocked that it will be absolutely shocking if Texas continues to struggle.
That he couldn’t put a winning season together himself is justification for this ending, but let’s appreciate that a lot did go right along the way. The Charlie Strong Era is survived by a program that I’m proud of and a roster that’s likely to be very good, very soon, and for that I’m thankful. Texas Football is better for his time here.