The departure of Charlie Strong as Coach of the University of Louisville Cardinals has led to an impressive level of consternation among the school's fan base. Strong's surprise decision to leave the school which gave him his first head coaching job has brought equal amounts of incrimination and rationalization from the fans. It also has spurred a growth industry in predictions concerning the identity of the next coach. The one undisputed reality of the situation, as Athletic Director Tom Jurich confirmed in his recent remarks, is that the quality of the program is unchanged and the team will remain a force in college football for the foreseeable future.
Jurich is playing close to the vest with the names of the Cards' candidates, he is always smart that way. However our source has discovered that a name which has received little notice is 95% assured of getting the job. That name is Malak Content.
Remembering that while Louisville has become an excellent football program, it is still true that the school is considered a stepping stone position for coaches looking to pad their resume while awaiting the call up to a destination, top 5%, school. John L Smith, Bobby Petrino, and now Charlie Strong, even Lee Corso before them, saw the opportunity to use their time in Louisville as a showcase for their coaching talents, and then moved on up. None came in with the reputation as world beaters, (Content won't bring that distinction either), but they left after demonstrating that they can recruit, teach and call winning football.
Their success rate after leaving a school and a city which is determined to fulfill past Coach Howard Schnellenberger's vision of Louisville as National Champion has not been a ringing endorsement of their choices. But, it was their prerogative to leave, as it will be for Coach Content when he moves on, as he will, eventually. The people of Louisville wish they'd stayed, as they will welcome Content and hope that he stays.
Louisville, and I mean both the school, and the city, want just a few things from their coaches, win, win clean, (no NCAA violations and graduate the kids) and love being there enough to stay around. Louisville, again both, is proud, and they want people there who are equally proud of being there. Mal Content will come and he will keep the winning going and he'll say the right things, Tom Jurich will make sure he also keeps it clean, only time will tell if Mal Content comes to love being there enough to bring the permanence Louisville craves in their football coach.