Source: Charlie Strong turns down Tennessee, will stay at Louisville
Charlie Strong and Louisville are finalizing a long-term contract extension
Strong led Louisville to a 10-2 record and Sugar Bowl berth this season
Tennessee is looking to replace Derek Dooley, who went 4-19 in SEC play
Charlie Strong is staying at Louisville, according to a Louisville source. Strong received a contract offer from Tennessee on Wednesday, but declined it after pondering the decision for a few hours.
Louisville and Strong are finalizing a long-term extension that could be announced as early as Thursday. It's expected to be a significant commitment in both years and dollars and will reportedly put Strong in the top echelon of coaches in the ACC.
The Louisville extension ends Tennessee's courtship of Strong, who had one brief meeting on Sunday with Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek in Louisville. Tennessee was the only school with which Strong had formal contact.
"It was Charlie's desire to end this constant speculation and re-commit long-term to Louisville," said a source.
Louisville, which has 31 players on its roster from the state of Florida, plays Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2. Louisville went 10-2 this season and won a share of the Big East title with a victory over Rutgers last week to clinch a BCS berth.
Strong's future at Louisville appears bright, as he returns 19 starters next year. That includes star quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who will be considered a Heisman Trophy candidate next season. Strong is also optimistic about the school's move to the ACC, which is expected to begin in 2014.
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