University Of Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong has won a national title and coached under such heavyweights at Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier and Urban Myer. So why isn’t he a frequent contender for the many Division One openings we read about at the end of each college football season? The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi seemed to know the answer to the question before he’d even asked.
Strong, when I asked him if his interracial marriage to a white wife has been factor in him never being offered a head-coaching job despite an illustrious career that has spanned a quarter-century, shook his head affirmatively.
In fact, there was one job at a southern school he interviewed for a few years ago when he says he heard it too many times to simply discard it as a vicious rumor.
“Everybody always said I didn’t get that job because my wife is white,” said Strong as he prepared Florida’s defense for Thursday’s national championship showdown with Oklahoma.
Such bigotry can’t be true today, can it?
Well, can it?
Strong just laughs at the naivete of such a question and then says incredulously, “”Ah, now!”
“If you think about it, a coach is standing up there representing the university,” he says. “If you’re not strong enough to look through that (interracial marriage) then you have an issue.”
Strong has a message for those who hold wife Victoria’s skin color against him.
“She makes no calls,” Strong confirms, “and she plays no defense.”
If Strong’s version of events is correct — and I have no reason to doubt him — it’s a shameful situation. But if he’s serious about his career, perhaps he ought to consider marrying someone who does play defense.