AP sources: Texas president flying to Tulsa to woo Gilbert

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) According to people with knowledge of the trip, Texas President Greg Fenves, football coach Charlie Strong and Athletic Director Mike Perrin were to fly to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in an effort to woo Golden Hurricane assistant coach Sterlin Gilbert to be the Longhorns' offensive coordinator.

Their flight was to leave Austin on Friday evening, according to the people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

A university spokesman did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.

Gilbert interviewed with Strong this week but reportedly turned down an offer Friday.

Details of the Texas meeting with Gilbert were not immediately available. The effort would be an extraordinary move by Texas administrators to snare an assistant coach who wasn't Strong's first choice for the job but could still be tantamount in helping turn around a struggling program after consecutive losing seasons.

Gilbert is the co-offensive coordinator at Tulsa but isn't the lead play caller. Tulsa (6-6) faces Virginia Tech (6-6) in the Dec. 26 Independence Bowl.

Earlier Friday, after reports surfaced that Gilbert turned down Texas, Fenves tweeted his full support for Strong, adding, ''I am committed to helping him move Longhorn Football forward.''

Perrin, who was initially brought on as interim athletic director in September and given the permanent job earlier this month, also has stated full support for Strong.

Next season, Strong will be in the third year of a five-year contract that pays more than $5 million per year. He has been interviewing candidates for offensive coordinator to rejuvenate one of the worst offenses in the Big 12.

Strong initially interviewed TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie, who turned down an offer this week. On Friday, multiple reports had Gilbert initially ready to accept the job, only to reverse course and stay with the Golden Hurricane.

The struggles to hire a top assistants have raised questions and anxiety among Texas fans about their program's stature within the Big 12 and nationally.

Since playing for the national title after the 2009 season, Texas is 41-35. Strong is 11-14 in two seasons.