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October 17, 2011Louisville coach Charlie Strong met with the media after Monday night's practice to confirm news that seemed inevitable for most of the last week. Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford is no longer on the UofL coaching staff.
"Mike Sanford is no longer with our coaching staff, and both sides have mutually agreed," Strong said. "Mike Sanford is an outstanding football coach and an outstanding person, but whenever I make a decision I have to make a decision in the best interest of our program."
Sanford's agreed departure came two weeks after he was relieved of his play-calling duties five days prior to Louisville's game against North Carolina. The last two games, quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson has called the plays from the booth instead of Sanford.
"I wish the best for Mike's family, and I have no doubt that he will continue his coaching career and do an outstanding job," Strong said of Sanford.
When asked by CardinalSports.com is there will be a hire made to replace Sanford or Watson at quarterback coach, Strong said no.
"Not right now, we are just going to continue on with Coach Watson calling the plays and after the end of the season we will re-evaluate and then we will hire someone," Strong said.
Beyond saying he wanted a change in play-calling, Strong has never fully explained the reason for the change, more noting what it wasn't than what it was. Strong explained that there was never an altercation or argument between he and Sanford and also explained that he liked the way Watson understood the quarterbacks and understood how to call plays for them.
"It was more than just philosophy, but every decision I make is for the best of the program," Strong said. "The original plan was to have him stay on. I just wanted to see a change in our play-calling. With our agreement, it is really better for both sides."
Strong said the tight ends coaching will be worked out between the staff members. That had been under Sanford's purview, but will now be a shared responsibility.