The Birmingham News reported Wednesday night that Louisville Cardinals head football coach Charlie Strong interviewed for the same position at Auburn University, but Strong denied through other media outlets that any such interview ever took place.
The Birmingham paper’s story said Strong interviewed within the past couple of days, perhaps by telephone. The story cited an unnamed source, “someone familiar with the process.”
Soon after that story appeared on Al.com, sportwriters Pete Thamel and Pat Forde — of Sports Illustrated and Yahoo.com, respectively — wrote on Twitter that Strong denied that the interview happened. Thamel noted that Strong was angry about the report.
All this comes hours after the Atlantic Coast Conference announced that Louisville would become its 14th member — a move that observers say guarantees UofL a spot among major football conferences as its current league, the Big East, appears to crumble.
Strong is in his third season at UofL. The Cardinals will play for a share of the Big East title — and a BCS bowl bid — on Thursday night at Rutgers.
Auburn is looking for a replacement for Gene Chizik, who was fired Sunday.
Chizik’s firing comes just two years after he coached the Tigers to a national championship, but Auburn finished this season with a 3-9 record.
The Birmingham News story named several possible candidates for the Auburn job, including Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher and Bobby Petrino, the former Arkansas and Louisville coach. After his first season as the Louisville head coach, in 2003, Petrino met secretly with Auburn officials about possibly becoming the Tigers’ new coach — though Auburn’s then coach Tommy Tuberville was still on the job.