If football truly teaches young men about life and that is the justification for its prominence in our schools then Charlie Strong should have every fan in America pulling for the program he is instituting at the University of Texas in Austin. And every high school athletic director across this nation should be able to count on that same kind of support.
Here is an excerpt from Coach Strong’s most recent press conference. He is sticking with what he is doing even though it has cost his team nine players. Players that could have remained on the roster and helped win games …. But at what cost? Here is some of what Coach strong said,
“The blue print of this program has been and always will be the change in helping direct the lives of young people. I'm sorry that another player had to be dismissed, but when you're told something over and over again...
We continue to develop young men. We will continue to ask them to follow our core values, which all of them have been brought up on. They understand what the core values are. When you are asked to do something and you are part of a team, and when you don't do it then you affect the whole team, and you affect the whole program.
Young people want discipline in their lives, and it's our job as a coaching staff to make sure that we provide him with discipline. I always look at it like this - right now, they are laying a foundation for 10 years from now. That foundation is the house they are going to live in, the wife they are going to pick to marry, their children and how they're going to provide for them and how they're going to raise them. If that foundation is provided for them now, 10 years from now they'll just be able to lean back on it and look back and say 'That's the life that I want to live.
Any time a player is dismissed from this program it hurts me because we are here to help young men. We are not here to run young men off; that's not our job. We're here to help them, and it just bothers me. When you're given an opportunity, you want to make sure you have every resource and everything available to help them be successful.
I always look at it - sometimes you see someone that has given so much and achieved so little and then someone that has given so little and achieved so much.
I'm not hard at all. Those guys have more fun around me then they will ever have around any coach, and that's just the atmosphere that I provide for them. I give them a lot of chances to get it right because I want them to still be successful.
When you say you're going to do something, it's just like your own child, they're going to challenge you. Now when they do challenge you, then what are you going to do about it? It's not so much the program, it's just that young men sometimes want to make a decision where they feel like it is their prerogative to do whatever they want to do. It just can't happen here.”
One sports commentator defended the Longhorn coach and his program this way:
“If you watched this press conference, you can tell Coach strong is deeply upset. He wants it more for these guys than they do for themselves. Some of his values, which I've read and heard described as "strict" or "old fashioned" or "intolerant" or "meat-headed" are, in fact, the basis of a functioning civil society. Basic respect for women, don't steal, don't carry guns for cheap street cred, don't lie, don't let your life be ruled by drugs or alcohol such that you can't live up to your responsibilities.”