This morning I woke up and watched the news, like I do every morning. I love Way Too Early (and I miss my morning boyfriend Willie Geist, but that’s a different blog post). I get the news, I get the best jokes from late night TV, and I get a little sports. All I need in a half hour and it’s fun.
Today I heard the news. The University of Louisville shocked the world and beat the mighty Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. And I wanted to shout it from the roof tops “Take THAT! WAY TO GO CHARLIE STRONG!”
So what. Who cares? I’m not a Cardinal. I couldn’t name one kid on that team. But I love college sports, specifically college football. I grew up watching Pitt vs. Penn State at the knee of my father. My college essay was about how I knew I wanted to spend my life on the sidelines as an athletic trainer. Well, that didn’t happen… so I went to grad school at Ole Miss (where if you haven’t yet tailgated, GO. NOW) to start a career in higher education. I’ve worked at South Carolina and now the University of Virginia where I get to enjoy college football as a fan. I love every bit of it.
Except one part. And last night good triumphed over evil. Louisville was fearless enough to hire the right man. EVERY LAST SEC team could have had Charlie Strong. Every single one. He coached under greats like Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz and Urban Myer who have all said he deserves to be a head coach. He coached in twenty-one bowl games. Helped win two national championships. Every SEC team and nearly every ACC team has made a coaching change since Coach Strong won a national championship.
And it’s not because he’s black. Other ACC and SEC teams have hired black head coaches.
It’s because he married a white woman.
“Look at his family tree. Our donors just won’t go for that.” I heard it when I was at South Carolina. And I heard rumors of it at Ole Miss. And I’ve read newspaper articles on it. Heck, Coach Strong himself has even commented that he knew what the issue was.
He should have been next up at Florida. But maybe Florida wasn’t fearless enough.
Last night was a win for families that look like mine. And look like Charlie and Victoria’s.
Congratulations Louisville for being fearless. Congratulations Coach Strong. You deserve this – and you deserved better than this for so, so, long.