After Charlie Strong went 16-21 in three seasons at Texas, many Longhorns fans were happy to see him go. But Earl Campbell, who won a Heisman Trophy as Texas, was not.
“I believe that Coach Strong – and I’ve said this many times, and I’m a firm believer in this – that if it wasn’t for Coach Strong, the University of Texas would have the same problems Baylor got,” Campbell, the College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “But because of Coach Strong, (we don’t). When he got the job, it was like 15 guys. He got them out of there and eventually cleaned the team up. That’s why we wasn’t like Baylor. But the guys he got rid of, those are real football players. But he chose to do it the clean way.”
Ultimately, that got him fired.
Campbell, 61, knew the first year or two would be difficult for Strong, who went 6-7 in 2014 and 5-7 in 2015. Texas started 2-0 this past season but still finished 5-7.
“I was predicting this year we was going to have a better year, but I honestly think next year is going to be the year,” Campbell said. “But unfortunately, he’s gone so somebody else is going to reap his benefits. I believe as an alumni of Texas, I think firing Coach Strong, I’m sorry (he won’t) reap the benefits, but the new coach is there and I think (Strong) would love to see us as a university get behind the new coach and go ahead. But Charlie Strong is a very good man. We spent a lot of time together, had a lot of talks and our kids loved him.”
Campbell has not yet met Tom Herman but hopes to do soon.
“I plan on meeting him and working with him, just like I did with Coach Strong,” Campbell said. “I tried my best to work with the other coaches as well.”
Texas went 101-16 under Mack Brown from 2001-09, won a national championship and played for another. The Longhorns, however, are 46-42 in the seven years since.
“I think the University of Texas spoils you when it comes to winning,” Campbell said. “That’s where I really learned how to win – and not how to lose. Mack, it just went to sleep a little bit and we just didn’t get the right kind of kids in there and it was time for a new regime. I don’t think that’s bad because he’s doing a great job on ESPN.”