Miami hires Charlie Strong: Mario Cristobal adds veteran coach to star-studded Hurricanes staff

Miami has hired former Texas, Louisville and South Florida coach Charlie Strong as a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, the program announced Friday. Strong is the latest addition to what has become a star-studded coaching staff under freshman head coach Mario Cristobal.

“I have a lot of respect for the program,” Strong said in a statement. “And I also have a lot of respect for Mario [Cristobal]…It’s a really special moment for me. Every time you enter a program, you always ask yourself ‘Do I have a chance of succeeding? Will we get the support we need? And that’s what you get right now.

“You look at history – a foundation has been laid here. It’s the championships over the years, the great players over the years and now…everyone wants to see this program take off and everyone expects that. that this program is on a different level.”

Strong has deep ties to Florida State spanning nearly 40 years as a collegiate coach. He served four stints at the University of Florida under Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer. Strong was the defensive coordinator for Meyer’s two national championship teams in Gainesville and joined Meyer’s coaching staff with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 as an assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach.

Additionally, Strong coached in Louisville, Texas and South Florida between 2010 and 2019, achieving a 74-53 record as a head coach. However, he only played one game with the Longhorns and took the Bulls from 10-2 to 4-8 in three seasons. His Louisville team won back-to-back Big East championships and beat Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl with a masterful performance from former star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

“I’m thrilled to add Charlie Strong to our team as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach,” Cristobal said. “Coach Strong is an elite football spirit and has an excellent reputation as a coach with championship experience. He also has exceptional acumen as a scout. Coach Strong will elevate not only our defense but our program in whole, and I can’t wait to see the impact it will have on our team’s culture and DNA.”

Strong joins former Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele as co-coordinator on the defensive side of the ball. Here are some key takeaways from adding Strong to the program.

Strong goes to Miami like a glove

While Cristobal is Miami’s proverbial football king, Strong gives the Hurricanes staff key connections across the state. He snatched the legendary Bridgewater from South Florida and also secured key Panhandle and Central Florida contributors in Louisville, South Florida and Texas.

Strong also adds veteran presence for a slightly younger coaching staff. He’s won championships and big games in the past, so having Strong as a sounding board should help Cristobal win even more than he did with Oregon. Getting a trainer of Strong’s pedigree as a positional trainer is a major win.

Miami spares no expense

Strong is just the latest big-name addition to what has quickly become an elite Miami staff. Instead of relying heavily on coaches who worked at Oregon, Cristobal ran a nationwide search for key assistants who fit the program.

Strong joins Steele as former Power Five head coaches on staff. Additionally, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis won the Broyles Award for College Football’s Top Assistant after leading Michigan to the College Football Playoffs. Jahmile Addae moved from Georgia to Miami as a secondary coach, while UTSA coordinator Rod Wright would join the defensive team after a legendary season with the Roadrunners.

Cristobal’s first staff is filled with exceptional on-field coaches, great scouts and a handful of newcomers who should keep “The U” hungry. It’s clear that Miami – and the coaching world – buys everything Cristobal sells. Hires like Strong are the reason Miami hired Cristobal and former Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich to help bring the program back to prominence.

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