After weeks of speculation and rumor, Texas officials finally ended the Charlie Strong era, firing the coach Saturday after three seasons.

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Strong was let go after going 16-21, the worst winning percentage (.432) in school history. Friday's 31-9 loss to TCU wrapped up a 5-7 season and guaranteed the school's second consecutive year without a bowl game.

Strong was brought in to bring some toughness to a Texas program that was viewed to have "gone soft" under former coach Mack Brown. He was an early fan favorite for booting a handful of players with off-field problems and implementing tough discipline among the remaining players. But the results didn't translate to the field, where Texas has gone though three consecutive losing seasons for the first time since a four-year slide in 1935-38.

Texas will owe Strong approximately $10 million to buy out his contract and, when factoring in assistants' salaries, the total buyout could cost nearly $18 million. For weeks, speculation about the Longhorns' next coach has centered on Houston coach Tom Herman. Herman had been rumored for the LSU job but, with the Bayou Bengals removing Ed Orgeron's interim tag, expect the Herman/Texas discussions to heat up quickly (and expensively).