Charlie Strong knows defense. He’s coached all over the Southeastern Conference, bringing his fast-flowing 3-3-5 scheme to three different head coaching stops. The two-time Big East Coach of the Year fell on hard times, however, so he’s going to the place where college football coaches revive their careers.
Alabama Crimson Tide leader Nick Saban loads his staff with talent, but every year, some will jump ship for bigger jobs. Saban’s coaching tree speaks for itself, and his ability to rejuvenate careers of former head coaches can be seen in Butch Jones, the former Tennessee Volunteers head coach who’s worked as an offensive analyst for UA since 2018.
Now, add Charlie Strong to the list of prominent coaches spending time in Tuscaloosa.
First reported by ESPN’s Chris Low, Strong is joining Alabama football’s coaching staff in a defensive analyst role for the 2020 season. He’ll be working alongside Pete Golding, who was promoted to defensive coordinator prior to last year and will remain in that role for the upcoming campaign.
Charlie Strong Joins Nick Saban’s Staff at Alabama
A former collegiate defensive back in his own right, the Batesville, Arkansas native has toured the SEC with coaching stops at Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Florida, and South Carolina. A finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award as college football’s top assistant under Urban Meyer, Strong landed his first head coaching job with the Louisville Cardinals prior to the 2010 season. The Cardinals put up a 23-3 record between 2012-13, won the Sugar Bowl and Russell Athletic Bowl, and finished top-15 both years.
Strong parlayed that into a five-year contract with the mighty Texas Longhorns, but failed to bring a winning season to Austin before being fired after three seasons.
The South Florida Bulls tabbed Strong as their new head coach in 2017, and he led the team to a program-best 10-2 mark in his first year. Sustained success evaded him once again, and the defensive guru was fired following a 4-8 finish to 2019.
Alabama’s defense ranked 13th in scoring last year, allowing 18.6 points per game, but struggled in certain areas, particularly in red zone defense where they ranked 74th in the country. Returning Dylan Moses at inside linebacker is huge, but losing Terrell Lewis and Xavier McKinney means there will be some work to do this offseason.
The experience coming in from a 59-year-old former head coach means that process is going to be a little bit easier, and ideally, return the Crimson Tide to national championship form.