Floyd turns Arizona down to stay at USC

Updated: April 3, 2009, 12:58 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona is still looking for a replacement for Hall of Famer Lute Olson after Southern California coach Tim Floyd turned down the job.

Floyd announced his decision in a meeting with reporters in Los Angeles Thursday afternoon. Floyd said he not only visited Arizona but also spoke to Memphis about its opening.

"I felt that I needed to look at those two programs," Floyd told reporters on Thursday. "I am at a point where I want to do something really special and I feel like I needed to go look at an elite program.

"But there is something really special about building your own traditions, your own histories and doing it with a group of guys that you love. ... I have never been more excited to be a Trojan."

Floyd said his contract at USC remains unchanged.

"I have three years left on my contract," he said. "No, there have not been any changes made that I am aware of. I would like another year or two. I think that would be great. I would like for this to be my last job."

Arizona wants a high-profile coach to replace Olson, who retired for health reasons before the start of last season.

Floyd met Wednesday afternoon with Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood and was offered the job, according to Mark Asher of Sports 620 KTAR, ESPN Radio's affiliate in Phoenix, and the Los Angeles Times. He reportedly had 24 hours to make a decision and went with USC.

"We're obviously delighted that coach Floyd is staying," USC athletic director Mike Garrett said.

"He has done historic things at USC in his short time, getting us to three consecutive NCAA playoffs and winning 20 games for three straight years and capturing the Pac-10 tournament title this year. And the future is very bright here under Tim's direction."

Floyd has led the Trojans to the NCAA tournament three straight times, and this year he coached them to the Pac-10 tournament title. The 55-year-old Floyd has an 85-50 record in his four seasons at USC. He also coached in college at Iowa State, New Orleans and Idaho. Floyd coached two NBA teams -- Chicago (1999-02) and New Orleans (2004).

Russ Pennell was interim coach for Arizona this season, leading the Wildcats to a 21-14 record and the program's 25th consecutive NCAA appearance.

Messages left for Livengood on his cell phone by The Associated Press were not returned. Arizona sports information director Tom Duddleston said Thursday no news conference or announcement had been scheduled.

USC athletic director Mike Garrett said Arizona had been granted permission to speak with Floyd.

It would have been unusual for a coach to switch from one school to another in the same conference. Former Stanford coach Mike Montgomery is at California, but was with the NBA's Golden State Warriors between those two college jobs.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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