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Strong departs Tampa with no USF deal, says he'll be back

Charlie Strong
Charlie Strong
Published Dec. 11, 2016

TAMPA — USF's pursuit of Charlie Strong as its football coach stretched into Day 3, with the former Texas and Louisville coach departing Tampa via a private Learjet on Saturday morning with no apparent deal struck.

The jet — owned by a prominent University of Texas booster — landed Friday around lunchtime in Tampa. The same plane departed Saturday morning, headed to Burnet, Texas, with Strong aboard, according to footage from WFTS-Ch. 28 sports anchor Tom Korun.

Korun said via Twitter that Strong, 56, declined to speak before boarding, but he uttered, "I'll be back."

Terms of Strong's contract at Texas might remain a sticking point for USF. The contract calls for Texas to pay Strong the remaining base salary for the final two years of the deal, a total of slightly more than $10 million. However, if he finds another job, Texas is entitled to half his compensation at his new gig.

Many believe Strong, who was fired Nov. 26 after three seven-loss seasons with the Longhorns, wants to coach in 2017.

"Absolutely. He's a football junkie," Austin (Texas) American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls said.

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.