Whether the Longhorns would win or lose Friday was not the biggest question of the game. Instead, fans couldn't help but wonder if this was the last time Charlie Strong would take the field as head coach of the Longhorns.
Friday, players watched in agony as Strong walked off the field for what could be his last time.
It was a painful loss and means, for the second year in a row, the Longhorns will not be eligible to go to a bowl game. That hasn't happened since 1992 and it doesn't bode well for the Longhorns head coach.
Thousands packed Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium to see if Strong could lead the Longhorns to victory over Texas Christian University.
“If you're coming to UT, one of the greatest college football teams in the country, you have to bring in winning,” said Spencer Russell who was at Friday’s game against TCU.
When Strong agreed to coach the Longhorns in 2014, fans hoped he was the answer to their team’s problems. But for the third season in a row, the Longhorns losses climbed to seven. That’s not the kind of legacy fans were hoping Strong would leave behind.
“We do have to move on after a 44% winning percentage. I mean, you've got to move on from that coach for the state of Texas,’ said UT fan Steven Swenson.
Strong has made some major changes regarding how players act off the field. The "core values" that players must follow include accountability, respect, and personal responsibility. That's something no one will be able to take away from the coach or the players who grew to love him.
“What he's done for the University is great. He's brought a lot back to the University, but I do think, at the end of the day, it's about wins and losses. You need to win,” Swenson said.
“He's done a fantastic job about that. You can tell that's just a great group of guys and they love him,” said Justin Nguyen who was also at Friday’s game.
Many feel Strong's fate was sealed after the Horns lost to Kansas for the first time since 1938.
“I mean, this game was supposed to be the game, but after that loss last week to Kansas it's kind of hard to make a strong argument,” Nguyen said.
“I think it was decided after the Kansas game. I think he's a great guy, but I do think he's gone after the end of the year,” said Swenson.
So far, the University has not made an announcement on whether Strong will return in 2017.
“I think this is it, but if you're watching Charlie, I love you, you're great, stay. But if you're not watching, no, he's got to go,” Russell said.
“I really, really respect you Charlie Strong. You are an amazing guy. I think Charlie Strong is a great coach. He did amazing things at Louisville and, if he ends up staying, I'm still 100 percent with him and I'm pulling for him,” said Nguyen.
Friday’s 31-9 loss to TCU doesn't bode well for Strong’s future at the University. However, in a press conference following Friday’s game, Strong said he expects to learn more about his future at UT tomorrow. He also said he told his players he would like to come back.