Charlie Strong has wasted little time turning around the Louisville football program. When he took over in 2010, they were coming off three consecutive losing seasons. Three years later, he has them playing in a BCS bowl game.
That's not a surprise to any who watched him coach at Florida from 2002-2009, where he left his fingerprints all over the Gators program as a defensive coordinator, head coach and recruiter.
He helped bring many of the current Florida upperclassmen to Gainesville, and the players he coached still remember him fondly (courtesy of Florida Today):
"Man, he's a great coach, man," Florida senior safety Josh Evans said. "It's a guy who knows his stuff, so it was fun. I mean I'm pretty sure it is going to be a great game. He's a great coach. He's got a good defense coming into this game and a good offense, so it'll be very competitive."
At the age of 52, Strong is one of the rising stars in the coaching business, as Louisville had to fend off a determined effort by Tennessee to hire him this off-season.
He could take the next step with a victory over Florida in the Sugar Bowl, although a lot of his old players could have something to say about that.