Florida Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong: Interracial Marriage Has Hurt His Chances of Getting a Head-Coaching Job

Mike Bianchi, Orlando Sentinel, January 6, 2009

You would hope that in this day and age when we just elected an African-American president that race would play no factor in college football, but UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, a black man, obviously believes otherwise.

Strong, when I asked him if his interracial marriage to a white wife has been factor in him never being offered a head-coaching job despite an illustrious career that has spanned a quarter-century, shook his head affirmatively.

In fact, there was one job at a southern school he interviewed for a few years ago when he says he heard it too many times to simply discard it as a vicious rumor.

“Everybody always said I didn’t get that job because my wife is white,” said Strong as he prepared Florida’s defense for Thursday’s national championship showdown with Oklahoma.

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“If you think about it, a coach is standing up there representing the university,” he says. “If you’re not strong enough to look through that (interracial marriage) then you have an issue.”

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Strong isn’t the only one. It has been reported that one of the reasons Buffalo coach Turner Gill didn’t get the job at Auburn is because his wife is white. The job went to Iowa State coach Gene Chizik even though Gill seemed to have the more impressive head-coaching credentials. On ESPN’s “Outside The Lines,” reporter Mark Schlabach said two SEC coaches told him that because Gill is married to a white woman there was no way he was going to get the Auburn job.

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