Open Letter to Coach Strong

Coach Strong,

As I am finally getting to sit down and reflect on the past three years, I have a few memories about you that stick out from all the rest.

I will never forget sitting down with you for our first one-on-one meeting at the end of our first spring, and explaining to you how the grade system worked at UT. I remember how upset you were about the whole plus/minus system given the fact that getting an A+ was not possible. I still laugh thinking about your reaction to this day.

I will never forget that one cold morning in February of 2015 when I was pulling up to Moncrief at 5:15 A.M. to get ready for our 5:30 A.M. workout, and you were finishing up a 4 mile run. You literally had sweat dripping off the brim of your cap, and I was confused as to how that was even possible.

I will never forget just a few weeks ago, when we were in the parking lot of our hotel in Lubbock at 6:45 A.M. on the morning of the game doing our final walkthrough. We had a couple of crazy Longhorn fans who somehow found out what hotel we were staying at, and they showed up in the parking lot looking to get an autograph from you. Not only did you go over and sign their memorabilia, but I watched you take a couple minutes just to have a conversation with them, thanking them for their support to our team.

I could honestly go on and on with a list of memories I have during my time here, but I chose these three for a specific reason.

How many head coaches at a major D1 university honestly carve out 10 minutes of their day a couple times per year to meet with every player on the team, walk-ons included? You never made me feel different than any other player on the team, and I cannot thank you enough for that.

How many head coaches get a 4 mile run in every day before we even show up for our workout? And you wouldn’t even stop there, you would actually come in to the weight room and out-lift the majority of the team.

How many head coaches would take a couple minutes, on game day, to appease some insane fans who had basically stalked us? And smile the whole time doing it?

Football has never just been about wins and losses to you, it’s always been more about the life lessons we can learn from this sport.

I had the privilege of coming in at the same time as you, into the same environment as you, and watch you play a part in changing some of my teammate’s lives. I started out around some guys who had no drive or direction in life, and I got to watch you lovingly instill some self-confidence and self-worth into their lives instead.

You created an environment where you challenged us to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. I know that I, personally, am a dramatically different person than the one I was when I showed up for my first workout almost three years ago, and I hope you know that you have played a part in that transformation by the environment you have built for our team.

Today I get to run out of the tunnel one last time. Thankfully, you will be the one at the end waiting to shake my hand. I could not be more proud of the fact that you were my head coach for the time I got to spend here. Even knowing how the past three years have played out on the field, I would do it all over again if given the chance.

I am proud to be a Texas Longhorn because of the head coach that represents our team.

Let’s Ride,

Connor Huffman


16 thoughts on “Open Letter to Coach Strong”

  1. I am a Kentucky Wildcat fan but I have nothing but respect for Coach Charlie Strong. Living in Louisville Kentucky I here some of the U of L fans wanting their coach to hate U of K. But Coach Strong was different. He always showed respect. So I’m guessing that’s the way he is after reading this and having a friend, Aaron Nance who played for him in Louisville. Good luck Coach Strong


  2. I knew coach Strong for several years while at the University of Florida. I didn’t play for him, so I can’t speak as to the kind of coach he is, but I can tell you he is a great man, a good husband, & a loving father to two well mannered girls. I was sad to see him leave UF because of the leader he was & example to those young men, but was happy he was getting his shot to lead a team of his own. I will be pulling for him wherever he lands next, & whoever gets him will be fortunate to have him.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not a Longhorns fan but I think Coach Strong is a wonderful role model for the whole UT system. It will be a loss for UT! Incredible man!


  4. We have a slogan for our football program.
    We think that if we work diligently and focus on these tenants that winning will come in due time and it will be lasting and founded in good sportsmanship, honor, and pride. I know college football is a bottom line dollar business, but the impatience and greed of some schools has gone beyond pale. Football in a school setting should be more about what you are instilling, and what we are teaching future leaders, fathers, and citizens of our great nation. Keep marginalizing coaches, mentors, and leaders of young men and we will continue to see the rapid decay of our society.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Classy and inspirational letter – just like the coach that inspired it. Not a UT fan, but a BIG Charlie Strong fan. He proved he knows how to build a program at Louisville and the 2017 Horns will win at least 8 games, regardless of who they hire.
    Charlie Strong does much more than coach football. He prepares young men for life! The lessons he taught and the values he instilled will be a large part of his legacy for many, many years to come.


  6. Football in Texas is a business unfortunately. Wins and losses dictates the future of coaches nowadays. Coach Strong reminded me of old school coaches when they attempted to instill life values into young men while coaching football. I have met a couple of people who had met coach Strong while in Louisville and spoke VERY highly of him. I wish coach Strong the best as he moves forward. He will not be without a coaching job long….


  7. So much respect for him and his priorities as the coach. Just not fair that he doesn’t get to go to the next phase with them. Hate that the media put so much pressure on them that this young team had to play with that kind of pressure.


  8. No doubt coach Strong was very honorable and dedicated coach. But he failed in his primary mission. Which was make the program a winning one. End of story.


  9. Coach Strong stepped into a losing program at Louisville and completely turned it around and did so while instilling high expectations and life lessons which will stay with his players their whole lives. Charlie steps into another losing program at Texas and got rid of the bad people and once again instilled high expectations and life lessons which will stay with these players for their whole lives. Too bad Charlie didn’t get the time to run the team with his own players. Next coach gets to reap the rewards of Charlie’s hard work! He doesn’t need another project, he needs to step into a good situation now where he can take a good team with good people and lead them to excellence. Good luck to him and good luck to his players at UT.


  10. Not a Longhorn fan but a HUGE Coach Strong fan. PROUD to know a great coach from a mediocre coach. Connor says it all. Thank you Connor. Gratitude is the ultimate respect!!


  11. I am so strong on Coach Strong and all that he stands for and have been hoping that UT would see the value in keeping this man. For sure he has come far. Charlie, you will shine in whatever direction that God leads you. Some of us are so proud of you!!!!! Sue


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