Community leaders react to Texas' historic hire

Community leaders react to Texas' historic hire

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Greeted by a swarm of media inside Belmont Hall, Charlie Strong kicks off his career as the 29th head football coach at the University of Texas at Austin. Even before his first game, Strong has made history by being the first African American head coach of a men's sport at the University.

I think it will be met with a lot of positive feedback," said Cedric Golden, a sports columnist with the Austin-American Statesman. "I know there's some people out there that don't want to talk about race, but speaking as a black man in my community, it's a really big deal that the Texas Longhorns hired an African American football coach."

City leaders, like Mayor Pro-Tem Sheryl Cole, a UT graduate and the first African American woman elected to the Austin City Council, also see it as a big deal.

"It's a very historic day, not only for the University of Texas, but for the City of Austin for us to actually accept our first African American football coach."

Cole, along with UT President Bill Powers, believe this latest hire will further improve the university's reputation when it comes to diversity.

"We live in a diverse state, an increasingly diverse world. Our students are going out and we're educating them to work in a diverse world and we need a diverse university," Powers said.

More than 120 years after UT football started, Strong recognizes what this day may mean to some.

"There is always going to be a first somewhere, so this had to be the first and whenever there's a first we're going to make it good, we're going to do what we have to do and we're going to work to make it better," he said.

While Strong acknowledged that his hire is historic for UT, he also knows there are some big expectations out there. He says he wants his players to be the best both on and off the field.

"I want our players to understand this: You're here to graduate. You're here to get a degree. When you get a degree then you will always have options in life."

Golden added, "Charlie Strong also mentioned that he's going to be very, very hard on the rules. You've got to follow the rules because you don't want those outside distractions to take away from what you're trying to accomplish on the field."

Because what that is, of course, is wins. When it comes to Texas football that matters most.

Strong wrapped up his press conference by saying, "I just can't wait to get started."

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