Charlie Strong staying at Louisville

University of Louisville football coach charlie Strong has turned down an offer to become the head coach at Tennessee. Strong, who is expected to address his team and the media on Thursday morning, will remain the head coach of the Cardinals.

Charlie Strong will remain as the head football coach at the University of Louisville.

Strong, who in his third season has the Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl, has been the subject of a crazy coaching search for much of this week.

But on Wednesday night, Strong confirmed to Fox SportsNEXT national recruiting analyst Jason Higdon that he was turning down an offer to coach at the University of Tennessee.

Strong is expected to sign a long-term contract extension with a major pay raise as early as Thursday morning. U of L officials couldn't confirm anything on Wednesday evening.

The news comes at the end of a long day where conflicting reports were circulating about his level of interest and offers from Tennessee.

Strong was not in his office during the day and by the time players arrived at the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex for a 3:45 p.m. workout, they were greeted by about 20 media members.

The players then went into a team meeting where sources confirmed Strong was in attendance. But he was not spotted by members of the media and left the complex after a five-minute meeting with his team.

Two sources confirmed that Strong did not inform the players of a decision but told them he was going to do "what was right for the program." Higdon reported soon after the meeting that the team was expected to meet again on Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m.

Sports Illustrated then quoted sources around 7:30 p.m. that Strong had turned down Tennessee and Higdon confirmed the news with Strong just a few minutes after the initial report.

U of L athletic director Tom Jurich has said that he would match any offer from another school. And it appears that Jurich has won out in a battle for his football coach with an SEC team.

During his three years as the Cardinals head coach, Strong has compiled an overall record of 24-14. Following a three-year absence from post season play, Louisville has reached a bowl game each season since Strong arrived.

Upon his arrival, Strong immediately resurrected Louisville's struggling recruiting efforts and has signed two of the top classes in the program's history.

Strong has been named a finalist for the 2012 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year award and was recently honored as one of the American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year.

U of L is 10-2 this season and will play Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans Jan. 2. The team is expected to begin bowl practice on Friday.

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