Meyer 'angry' that Strong has been overlooked

Published: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:39 p.m.

MIAMI - During a morning press conference the day after winning the BCS National Championship, Florida head coach Urban Meyer said he didn't want "to spoil a great day" by talking about how his much-admired defensive coordinator is being overlooked for head-coaching jobs.

Then he proceeded to get mad anyway about the apparent lack of advancement opportunities for Charlie Strong, who is African American.

During media day on Monday, an Orlando Sentinel reporter asked Strong if his interracial marriage played a role in his being passed over for jobs, including one at a Southern university a few years ago.

Strong reportedly shook his head affirmatively.

"Everybody always said I didn't get that job because my wife is white," Strong said at media day Monday. "If you think about it, a coach is standing up there representing the university. If you're not strong enough to look through that [interracial marriage], then you have an issue."

On Friday, Meyer was asked if he thought Strong's race or interracial marriage had kept him from receiving any head-coaching offers.

"I'm not going to get into that right now and spoil a great day," Meyer said. "I'm going to tell you again. That's one of the finest coaches in America. ... And I'm going to tell you something else - a great husband and a great father and a great person, as good a guy as I've ever seen around. ... I trust him with everything.

"So that's a good question. I can't certainly answer it, and I don't want to push too hard because I don't want to lose him."

Strong is good at game of football and as a role model "and making sure the guys do the right thing," Meyer said.

Meyer said he has put "bugs" out there about Strong.

"I've shot it at them and made it real clear," he said. "I'm not sure they listen. ... It kind of angers me sometimes. I've been involved in those phone calls, and I can tell on the other end [I'm] talking to a deaf ear."

The universities or their search firms, he said, shouldn't "play people," he said. "I need to be careful. I'm going to get very angry here in a minute. ... That's how much I care about Charlie Strong."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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