AUSTIN, Texas —
And how quickly he can win a lot of games.
Strong’s predecessor did that. Over 16 years, Mack Brown had 158 victories, and in 2005 he won Texas’ first undisputed national title in 36 years. From 2000-09, Texas averaged more than 10 wins a season and played in four BCS bowls, winning three.
That success helped spur unprecedented financial growth.
Texas ranks as the wealthiest athletic program in the country. A partnership with ESPN created the Longhorn Network, a 20-year deal worth at least $300 million to the university.
But for all its wealth, Texas has struggled to deliver a championship legacy that lives up its sense of grandeur.
Brown won just two Big 12 titles, while his archrival across his northern border, Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, won eight. Texas’ lone national championship in 44 years pales in comparison to Alabama’s three from 2009-12.
And the recent drop-off that started with a 5-7 record in 2010 got ugly by the end. When Texas started last season 1-2, some Texas fans even booed a public service announcement from Brown encouraging donations to charities.
The turmoil also exposed on a national level the political fighting that embroiled the university and attempts by some school officials and prominent supporters to push Brown out a year ago.
For more than two years, university regents have been fighting over whether to fire school President Bill Powers, who had been a key ally of Brown. Some of the same regents also were involved in talks with Alabama coach Nick Saban’s agent in January 2013 in efforts to coax Saban into coming to Austin.
That Strong will be the first African-American head coach of a men’s program at Texas is significant at a school that resisted integration in the 1950s and ’60s and had college football’s last all-white national champion in 1969.
“This is a historic day for The University of Texas and a historic hire for our football team,” Powers said.