USF Bulls

Picture and video after Strong meets with USF and departs…now does he take the job?

Photo by Icon Sportswire

After we broke the news on Thursday afternoon that USF had locked on former Texas head coach Charlie Strong as their top choice to replace the departed Willie Taggart, we and everyone else believed that due to all the circumstances, things would be resolved “soon.”

Well, it’s now day three of this “high stakes courtship” and with the clock ticking on the end of the live contact recruiting period for now,  etc. Charlie Strong has still not been named as the Bulls fourth ever head coach, yet.

So much for “soon.”

So, now, what are we to conclude? Well, a source close to the situation passed on to us Thursday they were already discussing contract parameters. Then, word leaked that Strong was in Tampa on Friday to meet with the USF “brass” in person. And on their Friday night late news, WFLA-TV NewsChannel 8 in Tampa had video of the private plane believed to have Strong on it that no one could be seen getting off of by them.  Obviously, USF and Strong went to great lengths to protect their identities, Friday.

But, now, we are to Saturday morning and there is fresh info.

We have photos and video this morning verifying that Strong was here meeting with USF. Long time WFTS-TV, “ABC Action News” anchor Tom Korun exclusively talked with Strong mid-morning Saturday, as he came back to the private airport in Tampa. Here is Korun’s exclusive photo:

As Korun says in the tweet, Strong told him in perfect Arnold Schwarzeneggar vernacular, “I’ll be back.” Then, TK, got video of the plane departing here:

 

We can report from our source that tipped us in the first place that Strong is still the #1 choice, was offered the job, and now it’s up to him to decide to take it.

And, then that word again….“soon.”

We have further detailed the importance of the recruiting period ending for now coming out of this weekend and how some USF recruits/verbal commits are now in play to go to another school if they want.

As for other possibilities, if Charlie Strong doesn’t want the job, here’s more:

We know that Friday morning that the Houston Cougars hired from within with Major Applewhite, but more importantly, turned down Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Kiffin, the son of former longtime Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, would be an intriguing candidate for the Bulls, if they get a “no” and are back interested in candidates. But after not getting the Cougars head job, he may be content to remain at Alabama or go to LSU and join one of his best friends, Ed Orgeron as offensive coordinator there.

There was also a Friday afternoon report in South Florida that Kiffin was being pursued by Florida Atlantic for their head coach vacancy. But there’s no indication that Kiffin would even been interested in talking to the low level C-USA program, which has little in the way of notoriety or money to attract a high profile candidate. It smacks more of a desperate publicity grab by FAU.

Then, there’s the curious case of Western Michigan head coach and former one year Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant P.J. Fleck. Fleck, as you probably know has led the Broncos to their best season ever, culminating at 13-0 with a MAC title win last weekend. They are now playing Wisconsin in the upcoming Cotton Bowl.

According to a report by the Detroit News Free Press Thursday afternoon, a new contract for Fleck (who made $800,000 this past season) was being “finalized.” Well, that was never confirmed or announced by either side.

So, we at F.F.I. have to wonder if Fleck is still holding out for the possibility of an attractive program like USF, which would pay him significantly more and obviously have a much greater chance at sustained success with recruiting, etc.

So to recap: As it has been for three days, it’s still Charlie Strong’s job to take. But, there are still other options.

The Bulls, their fans, and all of us await.

We will continue to update this story.

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