AUSTIN -- The University of Texas announced on Sunday that University of Louisville's Charlie Strong will replace Mack Brown, who led the Longhorns for 16 seasons, as Texas' head football coach.
Despite the fact that Strong will be the first black coach in the football team's history, Longhorn fans said that burnt orange is the only color that matters with the new coach.
“I don't ever want to look at it as being the first,” Strong said. “I just want to look at it as I'm a coach, and that's the way I want to be treated.”
For former NFL player Al Matthews, Monday's announcement brought back memories.
“It kind of reminds me back in 1972, I was hired by Darrell Royal as assistant coach back then,” Matthews said.
Matthews was UT’s first black assistant coach. He said he believes Strong will win over doubters.
“I'm real happy for him. I'm happy for the program,” Matthews said. “The guy's done a great job at Louisville. I mean, they were 26 and two, maybe three, over the last couple of years. So, he's earned the right to be here, regardless of his color.”
Some said they believe Strong's hiring may change what many call a negative perception of how the school and the community relates to minorities.
“This is a friendly and welcoming campus, but the perception from the outside has not always been that way,” said former UT women's basketball head coach Jody Conradt. “I think these kinds of steps send a message, and a very positive message, about this is the state university, and it's open to everyone, and everyone can be successful here.”
Ted Koy played for the Longhorns in the late 1960s on an all-white team. He said he's ready to have Strong lead the Longhorns back to the top.
“I think that's what it's all about. We move forward, and we're not based so much on color and gender as we are getting the job done, and that's exciting,” Koy said.
While Strong's hiring made history, Longhorn fans said it's not about black or white, it's about winning, and Strong has to prove himself.
Strong said he feels the same way. He says at the end of the day, it's all about winning, developing young people and doing things the right way.
The Longhorns' first game of the 2014 football season is Aug. 30.