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October 3, 2012
Despite saying multiple times in the last year that he is happy in Louisville, rumors have swirled in recent weeks that coach Charlie Strong will be a candidate for several other jobs.
Strong has Louisville ranked in the top 20 nationally and undefeated at 5-0. After back-to-back bowl trips, the Cardinals were the preseason pick to win the Big East and make a BCS bowl this season.
Rome, a nationally-syndicated radio host, had Strong on the show to talk about his program, but also took a question to address the rumors.
Midway through the interview Rome asked Strong about the likely vacancy at Arkansas (where former Louisville coaches Bobby Petrino was fired and John L. Smith is under heat for a sloppy start) and whether his name would be included among the candidates. Strong said he is loyal to Louisville.
Strong replied, "I will say this. The Athletic Director (Tom Jurich) here and President (James Ramsey) here gave me my first opportunity. I know a lot of times your name is going to come up for these different jobs, but when someone has reached out to you - I owe it to them to uphold what we have been talking about. I know that phone call - it may not come - I'm not saying it will, but the name is out there.
"When I got this job, my name wasn't in the mix for anything but the Louisville job. So I'm fine. I know that question, but I am fine where I'm at. I have a lot of backing here. My family is here, they love it here, so I am pretty comfortable where I'm at."
Rome replied, "Charlie, I buy that, actually. I don't think that is something you are just saying because I go back to December of '01 and your coach, the guy you worked for, Lou Holtz, was saying quote 'Charlie Strong should be a head coach. He is anxious to be. He and I have talked about how you get a head coaches' job' and then you didn't get that opportunity until eight years later. So when you say to me that these are the people that gave me an opportunity, that's got to mean something to you, right?"
"It does," Strong replied. "You don't just walk away when something - a lot of times people think the grass is greener on the other side, but you don't walk away when you are building a program.
Strong said he is still building the program at Louisville and noted that he wouldn't feel right abandoning the players he asked to come to Louisville.
"I told them to come here for me and this University and then all of a sudden I get another shot and I walk away from them?" Strong said. "I'm just not cut like that, Jim."