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Conflicting reports on Texas football coaching vacancy

8:54 AM, Jan 4, 2014   |    comments
Charlie Strong the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals watches the action during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Paul Brown Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Multiple media reports late Friday night said Louisville's Charlie Strong will accept an offer to be the next head coach at Texas. The Austin American Statesman, however, said that no deal has been made, and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin is still in the running for the position.

The Associated Press reported Strong would be the choice, citing a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was being kept confidential and had not been completed. The pending hire was first reported by 247 Sports.

A Texas official told the American-Statesman that Strong has not accepted the job but is expected to do so.

Sports Illustrated cited a high-ranking Texas official as saying Strong had agreed in principle to a five-year contract that will pay $5 million per year.

Texas athletic director Steve Patterson reportedly interviewed Strong for four hours at an undisclosed location on New Year's Eve, but Louisville has remained quiet throughout the proceedings.

Two Louisville spokesmen and several sources close to the football program did not return messages seeking confirmation or comment. As a whole, the Louisville football community has been largely silent throughout the week with regard to Strong and Texas.

ESPN reported Friday night that Texas had offered the job to Strong, but the 53-year-old coach wanted to speak with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich and school president James Ramsey. Jurich told ESPN that Strong said he had not accepted the job.

Strong's contract with Louisville consists of a base pay of $3.7 million, ranking him among the top 10 highest-paid coaches in college football. His contract also includes a buyout of $4.375 million if he leaves between summer 2013 and summer 2014.

Patterson also interviewed Franklin, who has led Vanderbilt to three consecutive bowls for the first time in school history.

Strong is 37-15 as the head coach at Louisville, including three bowl wins. The 2013 Cards won 12 games for only the second time in program history, capping the season with a 36-9 Russell Athletic Bowl victory over Miami.

Strong coached the 2012 Cards to a Sugar Bowl win over Florida, where he was the defensive coordinator before taking the Louisville job in 2010.

The potential move would come six months before Louisville switches to the Atlantic Coast Conference, a major move in college sports status.

Louisville lost star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and safety Calvin Pryor to the NFL Draft as early entrees. Other key juniors - defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin, running back Dominique Brown and receiver DeVante Parker - said they'd return for their senior seasons.

Jeff Greer writes for The Courier-Journal in Louisville.

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