Miami has hired former Texas, Louisville and South Florida coach Charlie Strong as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, the program announced on Friday. Strong is the latest addition to what has become a star-studded coaching staff under first-year head coach Mario Cristobal.
“I have a lot of respect for the program,” Strong said in a statement. “And I also have a lot of respect for Mario [Cristobal]…It’s a really special moment for me. Whenever you go into a program, you always look at ‘Do I have a chance to be successful? Are we going to have the support that we need?’ And that’s what you’re getting right now.
“You look at the history – a foundation has been laid here. It’s the championships over the years, the great players over the years and now…everybody wants to see this program take off and everybody expects for this program to be at a different level.”
Strong has deep ties to the state of Florida in nearly 40 years as a collegiate coach. He served four stints at the University of Florida under both Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer. Strong was defensive coordinator on both of Meyer’s national championship squads in Gainesville, and joined Meyer’s coaching staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 as assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach.
Additionally, Strong serves as coach at Louisville, Texas and South Florida between 2010 and 2019, achieving a 74-53 record as a head coach. However, he only made one bowl game with the Longhorns and took the Bulls from 10-2 to 4-8 over the course of three seasons. His Louisville squad won back-to-back Big East championships and defeated Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl behind a masterful performance from former star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
“I’m fired up to add Charlie Strong to our staff as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach,” Cristobal said. “Coach Strong is an elite football mind and has a tremendous reputation as a coach with championship experience. He also has exceptional acumen as a recruiter. Coach Strong will elevate not only our defense, but our program as a whole, and I can’t wait to see the impact he makes on the culture and DNA of our team.”
Strong joins former Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as a co-coordinator on the defensive side of the ball. Here are some key takeaways from Strong’s addition to the program.
Strong fits Miami like a glove
While Cristobal is the proverbial king of Miami football, Strong gives the Hurricanes staff key connections across the state. He snatched the legendary Bridgewater from South Florida and got key contributors from the Panhandle and Central Florida too while at Louisville, South Florida and Texas.
Strong also adds a veteran presence for a coaching staff that skews slightly younger. He has won championships and big games in the past, so having Strong as a sounding board should help Cristobal win even bigger than he did with Oregon. Getting a coach of Strong’s pedigree as primarily a position coach is a major victory.
Miami is sparing no expense
Strong is just the latest big-name addition to what has quickly become an elite staff at Miami. Instead of leaning hard on coaches that worked at Oregon, Cristobal has executed a nationwide search for key assistants that fit the program.
Strong joins Steele as former Power Five head coaches on staff. Additionally, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis won the Broyles Award as the best assistant in college football after leading Michigan to the College Football Playoff. Jahmile Addae moved from Georgia to Miami as secondary coach, while UTSA coordinator Rod Wright will reportedly join as defensive ends coach after a legendary season with the Roadrunners.
Cristobal’s first staff is filled with outstanding on-field coaches, great recruiters and a handful of up-and-comers that should keep “The U” hungry. It’s clear that Miami — and the coaching world — is buying everything Cristobal is selling. Hires like Strong are why Miami hired Cristobal and former Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich to help lead the program back to prominence.