College Football Insider

Louisville athletic director prepared to open vault to keep Charlie Strong

Louisville coach Charlie Strong's 5-0 start and his reputation around the country make him a logical name to throw around when it comes to potential SEC job openings in Arkansas (eventually) and Tennessee (maybe).

Strong went on The Jim Rome Show and referenced the faith Louisville showed by hiring him in 2009 after years of waiting to be a head coach. As far as leaving for the first job that calls, Strong told Rome, "I'm just not cut like that."

In case teams do target Strong, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich sounds like a man unafraid to compete financially.

When asked about his approach to a head coach -- like Strong -- who becomes increasingly attractive on the market, Jurich said he'd go crazy if he worried about every rumor.

Then he referenced his employee match plan -- and not the kind you might find with your company's 401K.

"I will match anybody's salary," Jurich said. "I will match anybody in college. I will be supportive of whoever's here. Do they want to be here? When someone is being talked about, that's a compliment to our program. I've had it where you have coaches, and they're not talked about."

Alabama's Nick Saban is the game's highest-paid coach, with a reported salary o $5.32 million.

A year ago, Louisville extended Strong's contract for seven years and upped his salary from $1.6 to $2.3 million. But according to ESPN 680 Louisville's Jason Anderson, retention bonuses increase his overall package to around $12.6 million in the next four years.

That total doesn't have him far off from the game's highest-paid. If Strong ever does leave, sounds like Louisville will make the decision very difficult.

Of course, money might not be the only factor for a job like Arkansas, the state where Strong was born. He went to school at Central Arkansas, but he added in the Rome interview his family enjoys Louisville.

 
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