Texas fires Charlie Strong after 3 seasons

AUSTIN, Texas — Charlie Strong is done at Texas.

The first black coach in the history of the proud program was fired Saturday with a 16-21 record in three seasons. Strong had two years left on a guaranteed contract that pays more than $5 million per year, but was the first coach in Texas history with three consecutive losing seasons.

Reports that he would be fired swirled after a late-season loss to lowly Kansas, and school officials made it official after Friday's 31-9 loss to TCU meant Texas would finish 5-7 without a bowl game for the second straight year.

"Charlie Strong is an outstanding leader and role model who worked hard with great integrity to move Longhorn football in the right direction," university President Greg Fenves said in a statement on Saturday. "In the end, the results over three seasons were not there. It was not clear the future was going to be at the levels expected of Longhorn football."

Texas moved quickly to replace him. Hours after firing Strong, Texas announced it had hired Houston's Tom Herman to take over. Herman was 22-4 in his only two seasons with the Cougars, his first job as a college head coach.

Strong's tenure was notable at first for his disciplinarian style and "core values" code of conduct. But the losses quickly mounted and Texas struggled just to qualify for bowl games despite recruiting classes hailed as some of the nation's best. Texas had hoped for a turnaround this season after a 2-0 start, but a three-game losing streak and a 0-2 start in the Big 12 quickly followed.

Strong was a landmark hire for Texas in 2014, an up-and-comer who had earned his shot at one of the nation's top programs after a four-year record of 37-15 at Louisville.