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Charlie Strong Signs New 8-Year Contract

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Chris Graythen

Multiple times over the past nine months, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich has used phrases like "we will not be outbid" and "money is not an option" when talking about keeping football coach Charlie Strong at U of L.

On Wednesday, Jurich backed up his words with numbers.

Louisville has signed Strong to a new eight-year deal that will pay him an average of $3.7 million per year. The contract will make Strong the seventh highest-paid coach in college football, the highest paid coach in the Big East, and likely the highest paid coach in the ACC when Louisville makes the move to the league in 2014.

The only coaches in America making more bank than Strong? Alabama's Nick Saban, Texas' Mack Brown, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, and LSU's Les Miles. Strong will make almost $1 million more than the next highest-paid coach in the ACC, Jimbo Fisher of Florida State.

If Strong wants to leave Louisville in the relatively near future, it's going to cost the interested school mightily. The buyout for Strong in 2013 is set in stone at a hefty $5 million. That number declines by $625,000 each year.

Strong, who has been named Big East Coach of the Year in two his three seasons at Louisville, has heard his name come up in coaching rumors frequently over the past two years. The most notable example occurred this past December when Tennessee reportedly offered him $3.5 million per year to be the next coach of the Volunteers. Strong ultimately announced that he was staying at Louisville during a tearful press conference.

"I told our players I love them so much and I respect them so much, and the reason why I did not go take that job, because I know I have a football team that is behind me 100 percent," Strong said after leading the Cardinals to a Sugar Bowl victory over Florida.

The Courier-Journal has Strong's full contract available for viewing.