At this point, I doubt there’s a soul in the college football world who doesn’t know that USF is going hard for Charlie Strong, especially after yesterday’s media circus at Tampa International Airport. Strong was getting stalked like an A-list celebrity.
Plane from Burnett-Austin landing at TIA. #CharlieStrong on it? Could be. Make photo larger to see private jet pic.twitter.com/GrCQSF5pNo— tom korun (@tkorunwfts) December 9, 2016
So this plane from Texas just landed in Tampa. #USF pic.twitter.com/NllNhqXunQ— Matt Baker (@MBakerTBTimes) December 9, 2016
Don't know whether Charlie Strong was on said plane. Was not allowed close enough. But driver with bright green tie drove back toward jet...— Matt Baker (@MBakerTBTimes) December 9, 2016
There was also a video of the plane arriving with a great big, silver SUV pulling around the other side of the plane, but I didn’t save the tweet and it has disappeared into the interwebz.
Anyway, the airport stakeout didn’t end yesterday. Tom Korun was there this morning as well, and we got proof that Strong was, in fact, on that plane.
#CharlieStrong/family ready to leave. Asked him about his visit. Said he didn't want to talk. Then told me before boarding. I'll be back. ? pic.twitter.com/RupKCUKITv— tom korun (@tkorunwfts) December 10, 2016
#CharlieStrong leaving this morning. Last words to me after declining to discuss visit- "I'll be back." pic.twitter.com/EBypz6eIfJ— tom korun (@tkorunwfts) December 10, 2016
Charlie “Terminator” Strong. Jokes aside, that gives me some serious hope.
#CharlieStrong private plane has arrived back at Burnet airport in TX. https://t.co/YXfMBaJgry— tom korun (@tkorunwfts) December 10, 2016
If there were any tweets that I missed, feel free to drop them below.
As for the whole situation, it’s kind of hilarious and awesome. USF fans might complain about their coverage during the year (guilty) but they can’t complain about the kind of coverage the USF coaching search is getting, especially when the media is staking out the airport because a USF head coaching candidate is arriving on a private plane.
It helps that Strong is one of the splashiest names available. But you won’t see the local media staking out Lincoln Riley like this, or Lane Kiffin, if he even interviews. Houston saying he is “not a safe hire” will likely not help his stock.
Let’s just appreciate the hype surrounding the USF job currently, because I doubt anyone thought this was going to be such a highly anticipated hire.
As for the hire itself, it was reported that USF has roughly a 60/40 chance of landing Strong, but that sounds like a totally made-up stat to me. If Strong likes USF enough, the reported problem with his Texas contract should work itself out. Texas is paying the rest of his $10 million regardless, but will be entitled to half his pay at his next job. I’ll take a dangerous stance (given the last time I said not to panic) and say I’m still feeling pretty good about things.
Don’t @ me.
Update: As of roughly 6:40 on Sunday night, Collin had joined the party, staking out the airport for USF Head Coach Charlie Strong to arrive.