Strong staying at Louisville

Charlie Strong is staying at Louisville.

Strong said Thursday he turned down an offer from Tennessee to remain head coach of the Cardinals, who are 10-2 this year and will play in the Sugar Bowl against Florida after capturing a share of the Big East title and the conference's automatic BCS bid.

"It was the toughest decision I've ever had to make in my 29 years of coaching," Strong said at a Thursday morning press conference. "It was a life decision for myself, my family and my school."

Strong is in his third season at Louisville after 27 years as an assistant. He has guided the Cardinals to a record of 24-14 with three bowl appearances. The team was 7-6 in each of his first two seasons and is returning to a BCS bowl for the first time since 2006.

"When I thought about leaving, I kept going back to 'we haven't finished the job yet. We have a lot of work to do,'" Strong continued.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich had stated his desire to keep Strong, giving him a contract extension last October despite a 2-4 start to the 2011 season.

Strong said Jurich played an important role in his decision to stay.

"He gave me my first chance to be a head football coach after being an assistant 27 years," Strong added. "I was always on everybody's short list (of head coaching candidates), but Tom let me know from the very beginning I was the only one on his list."

Strong was also reportedly considered for the Auburn vacancy, which eventually went to Gus Malzahn.