From scratch to national title in just four years

Five years ago Iowa Western made a decision to start their football program from scratch and tabbed Scott Strohmeier as the man to build everything from the ground up. 

With just four years of competition under their belt, Strohmeier recently led the Reivers to a national title. From scratch to national title in just four short years.

Following a 5-4 finish their first season, Strohmeier led his team to back to back 9-2 seasons an put together a 12-0 season while beating Butler Community College (KS), who had previously collected 6 national titles in their school's history by a final score of 27-7. A true David vs. Goliath match up.

The Reivers were as impressive as any offensive unit in the country and set numerous NJCAA records in the process (did we mention that they're in just their fourth year in the history of the program already?). Their points per game average (63 points per game) and total offensive yardage (598 yards per game) were the best in the history of Junior College football. Individually, receiver Deon Long ended the year with 100 receptions, and a quarter of them went for touchdowns (25), and quarterback Jake Waters beat Cam Newton's completion percentage with a 73% clip on the year.

Most of their final scores on the season resembled unsportsmanlike basketball scores, more so than the vast majority of football games that most have ever seen. They went over the 80 point mark twice (allowing a total of 36 points in those two games), and failed to reach the 50 point mark just once prior to the national title game. Simply put, their offense was ridiculously efficient. Their defense was no slouch either, allowing 20 or more points just four times in their twelve games.

Coaches that have been called on to build a program from the ground up should take a page or two from Strohmeier and his staff. Starting at ground level , they've been able to build one of the most one premier programs in the country, and have found a way to reach the pinnacle of the coaching profession in a very short period of time, and they're also doing it the right way.

Louisville AD Tom Jurich asked Charlie Strong just one question during initial interview

Louisville AD Tom Jurich sat down with reporters earlier today to talk about his initial interview with Charlie Strong back before officially bringing him on in board in December of 2009.

Jurich said that he did all of the homework that he could possibly do on Charlie Strong, including calling Urban Meyer and Tony Dungy to get their thoughts, so when it came time to ask questions Jurich had just one question and three rules.

Jurich drove up to Strong's house to meet the day after Florida had played Alabama in the SEC title game to sit and talk and told Strong that he had three rules before they got started. Number one was that he didn't want to see any books, because "all coaches carry around the same recycled book". Number two was that he had to interview in sweats, or at least be comfortable in "Levi's and a golf shirt". The third rule was that he wanted Strong to have his entire family there.

Once Jurich sat down in front of Strong, he opened up with his one and only question.

"Before we get started, do you want to be the head coach at Louisville?"

Taken aback a bit, Strong finally answered "Yes". They then spent the next five hours hashing out how they were going to build the program back up.

Listen to more of the story from Jurich below. Really fascinating stuff in here, and that story is just the tip of the iceberg.

Numerous reports throughout the day state that Charlie Strong is close to signing an extension to keep him at Louisville, and after hearing this behind the scenes story, it's easy to see why Strong feels so strong about Louisville and the people there. Strong weighs in on what makes Jurich a special person to work for at the 6 minute mark.

Hazell: The importance of people is the one thing I'll take with me

As we told you last night, Darrell Hazell has accepted the head coaching position at Purdue. Today he held his exit press conference at Kent State and talked about the timeline with Purdue, and what he's learned from his experience at Kent State.

Hazell says that he met at 6:15am ET this morning with his coaching staff, which was followed by a 6:30am ET meeting with his team where he officially delivered the news. Knowing that he would get emotional, he kept things short and sweet, told him that he loved them, and then walked out of the room.

As far as the timeline goes, he explained that Purdue reached out to him late last week, but Hazell responded by telling them that he didn't want to have any discussions before the MAC title game. That initial conversation was followed up with conversations on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

According to Hazell, the job was offered at about 4:30pm ET yesterday, and he made his decision about around 9pm ET.

Later today, Hazell plans to fly out for a press conference and for his introductory press conference at Purdue. He added that Purdue has given him permission to coach Kent State in the bowl game, but that decision lays in the hands of Kent State administrators at this point, and should be decided on by the end of the day.

As Hazell leaves Kent State, he gave credit numerous times throughout the presser to the people who helped him and his staff reach the success that they have. He explains that is one lesson that he will leave Kent State with.

"That's the most important thing when you're putting together a football team. It's making sure that you surround yourself with the right people that are going to take care of the kids and make that the kids are getting everything that they need in the classroom, on the field, and socially."

"To me, it's all about the people. That's where success is built. It's not about anything but the people and I think that the bonds that we made coming in here, when people said 'You can't win here', and we put our hearts to it. I think you get a lot of people working in the same direction, a lot of good things happen."

"I think that's the biggest thing that I'll take from here."

That's solid advice for coaches everywhere.

Mario Cristobal has been let go at Florida International

In a shocking development this morning, we learned that FIU has decided to part ways with head coach Mario Cristobal.

Cristobal took over Florida International in December of 2006, after successful assistant coaching stints at Miami and Rutgers working with the offensive line and tight ends. Cristobal was just the second head coach in FIU's history and took over a team that had just finished the 2006 season at 0-12. They hired Cristobal, in part, because of his deep ties to the state of Florida as a player and coach, and his proven success on the recruiting trail.

In his first season, the Golden Panthers lost their first 11 games, and had lost 23 straight dating back before his hiring, which was the longest streak in the country at that time. The last game of the season, FIU beat North Texas to end the streak, and they continued to make strides in the right direction each season that followed.

Prior to their 7-6 season in 2010, the program had never finished a season with a winning record. That season they also locked up a share of the Sun Belt title. They continued to step in the right direction last season with an overall record of 8-5, which included a bowl trip for the second straight season (which ended in a  loss in the Beef O'Brady Bowl).

Following the 8-5 finish last year, Mario Cristobal was a hot name when the coaching carousel started to heat up in the offseason, with his name being mentioned at both Rutgers and Penn State, among others.

This season, FIU suffered a rash of injuries, and lost some key players to graduation, and struggled to a 3-9 finish. In his head coaching career, Cristobal exits FIU after six seasons and an overall record of 27-47 and 20-26 in conference play.

Take it from us, it won't take long for some program, or head coach, to pick up Cristobal. He's known in the profession as a quality, results driven coach, and kills it on the recruiting trail (especially in talent rich Florida).

Video: Butch Jones dancing in locker room

After locking up their fourth Big East title in five years, Butch Jones put all the job speculation on the back burner and just enjoyed being around his team in their post game celebration after beating UConn. 

The video starts off with some good pre game footage from Coach Jones, and then about three quarters of the way through the clip, there's a brief moment of Jones dancing (skip to about the 3 minute mark to catch it). It's not as infamous as "The Gundy", but finding (or coming up with) a name for that move should be interesting.

Any ideas?

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