AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — For 16 years, Mack Brown led the Texas Longhorns, reviving a dormant program into a powerhouse that won one national championship and played for another.
Now it's Charlie Strong's turn.
Hired away from Louisville when Brown was pushed out of after four sub-par seasons, Strong's first Longhorns team takes the field Saturday night against North Texas, a bowl team last season that is expected to contend for the Conference USA title.
Strong has had eight months to break down and rebuild a program that hasn't won a Big 12 title since 2009, restore toughness and shed what he called a sense of entitlement that had crept in. He has kicked players off the team, suspended others and turned to last season's injured quarterback, David Ash, to lead his offense.
"It's about us putting a 'T' back into Texas. It's still about just toughness, it's about trust, it's about just being a total team," Strong said.
Brown dragged an injury-riddled team into the final game last season with a chance to the win the conference title, but a 30-10 loss to Baylor essentially shut the door on his Texas career. He was pushed out a week later, but was allowed to coach Texas in the Alamo Bowl, a punchless 30-7 loss to Oregon.
Texas turned to Strong, who seemed destined to be a career assistant until finally given his first head-coaching job at Louisville. A 37-16 record over four seasons there catapulted him to Texas, where he is the first black head coach of a men's sports program in school history.
"There's going to be a lot of emotion on Saturday, I know that. Just running through the tunnel is going to be something special," Strong said.
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