USC's Tim Floyd has decided not to accept the Arizona Wildcats head coaching job.
Floyd announced his decision to reporters in Los Angeles this afternoon, after visiting Tucson on Wednesday to discuss the job.
“I listened and I heard what they had to say, but there’s really something special about building your own tradition and your own history,” Floyd said, adding that “I viewed it as an elite program in this country and I was really interested in what constituted it as an elite program.”
With Floyd out, Arizona AD Jim Livengood must find another candidate to permanently replace Lute Olson, who retired on Oct. 23. Among the coaches whose names remain linked to the Wildcats’ job include UNLV’s Lon Kruger, Saint Mary’s Randy Bennett and former Memphis assistant coach Josh Pastner, a longtime former UA assistant coach.
Floyd, 55, is 85-50 in four seasons with the Trojans and has won 65 percent of his games overall in a 16-year college coaching career that included stops at Idaho, New Orleans, Iowa State and USC. He also coached the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets in the NBA, compiling a 93-235 mark over five seasons.
The Trojans went 22-13 this season and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament. He has three years left on his contract, according to the Associated Press.
Floyd was also a candidate for the Memphis job vacated by John Calipari, but said he was not offered the position. He also was linked to the LSU vacancy last season, but said he will remain at USC.
“This will be the last time I look unless the administration gets tired of me,” Floyd said.
On Tuesday night, when UA had sought permission to speak with Floyd, the Los Angeles Times reported that the coach gave a speech at his team’s banquet telling them what they could accomplish next season if the players all returned.
"He was just saying that we would have a good year next year and that he believed in us, and that he thinks we could make a Final Four run," USC guard Marcus Simmons told the Times. "Not just win one game, a Final Four run, and have a great team next year if everybody comes back."
Freshman DeMar DeRozan, junior Taj Gibson and junior Daniel Hackett, who has Italian citizenship, are all expected to explore professional opportunities this spring.
A departure by Floyd could have threatened the USC recruiting class because two of the Trojans’ commitments, center Renardo Sidney and forward Solomon Hill, have not signed binding letters of intent.