Just three seasons into his tenure at South Florida, coach Charlie Strong has been fired, the school announced Sunday. This decision came at the end of difficult year in which the Bulls finished 4-8 overall and 2-6 in AAC play. Strong lost 14 of his last 18 games as USF's coach.
It has been all downhill for Strong and the Bulls since he joined the team in 2017. After posting an impressive 10-2 record in his first season, USF lost its final six games of the 2018 season following a seven-game winning streak to start the year.
It got worse in 2019. The Bulls were shutout by Wisconsin 49-0 to open the season and then lost to Georgia Tech -- a team transitioning from the triple option to the spread -- 14-10 in Week 2. They sat at 4-4 entering November but lost their final four games of the season, including a 34-7 defeat at the hands of rival UCF in the "War on I-4."
This marked the second straight season with a significant reduction in the team's record as the Bulls failed to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2014.
"I would like to thank Coach Strong and his staff for their hard work and contributions to our program," vice president of athletics Michael Kelly said in a statement. "I have tremendous respect for Coach Strong and his dedication to recruiting and developing young men of talent and character and leading them with integrity. He has represented USF with dignity and class and we wish Coach and his family the very best. I met with our student-athletes and staff today to inform them of my decision and to make clear USF's commitment to a championship-caliber football program that recruits and develops student-athletes and provides the resources and support for them to achieve great success in competition, in the classroom and in the community."
Strong spent three season as the coach at Texas from 2014-16, where he posted a 16-21 record. His final season began with a 50-47 overtime win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame in one of the most dramatic games of the season. It appeared that Texas was back to national prominence after that game, but it lost four of its next six games and then fell to Kansas 24-21 in late November, breaking the Jayhawks' 19-game Big 12 losing streak.
Strong got the job at Texas after a very successful four-year run at Louisville from 2010-13. He led the program to four consecutive bowl games, including an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl win over Florida in the 2012 season. He followed that up with a 12-1 campaign and a Russell Athletic Bowl win over Miami (FL) the following year.
Prior to his stint at Louisville, Strong spent seven seasons as Florida's defensive coordinator from 2003-09. A holdover from Ron Zook's staff to Urban Meyer's unit when Meyer took over in 2005, Strong won national championships with the Gators in 2006 and 2008.