|Tuesday, December 24
Updated: December 27, 4:36 PM ET
Chow staying at USC; Wildcats eye Kruczek, Donnan
ESPN.com news services
Norm Chow turned down an offer Tuesday to become the next head football coach at Kentucky, instead accepting an upgraded package to remain with Southern California as its offensive coordinator.
ESPN also has learned that Kentucky now will turn its focus to Central Florida coach Mike Kruczek and former Georgia coach Jim Donnan, who is currently an ESPN.com college football analyst.
"I'm remaining at USC,'' Chow said in a statement issued Tuesday. "It's flattering whenever my name comes up during head coaching searches, but I want to keep working with Pete Carroll and all the people at USC.''
Kentucky's is the last remaining Division I-A opening after Auburn offensive coordinator Bob Petrino was hired as Louisville's coach Monday.
Petrino, 41, signed a five-year contract with a base salary of $450,000, plus up to $250,000 a year in incentives. He replaces John L. Smith, who accepted the Michigan State job.
Guy Morriss left the Wildcats last week to take over Baylor's program.
Kruczek also was considered a candidate at Louisville. He is believed to already have spoken with Wildcats athletics director Mitch Barnhart, sources told ESPN.com.
Kruczek, 49, has posted a 33-23 record in five seasons at Central Florida. The Golden Knights were 7-5 in 2002, including a solid showing in their first season in the Mid-American Conference. A former NFL quarterback who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s and won a pair of Super Bowl rings with the team, Kruczek is noted for his exciting offenses.
Under Kruczek, Central Florida ranked among the top 20 in NCAA total offense for seven straight seasons. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the school for 13 seasons before being named head coach in 1998.
Donnan coached at Georgia from 1996-2000, compiling a 40-19 record and 4-0 mark in bowl games. Donnan's best season was 1997, when the Bulldogs went 10-2 and defeated Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
Also under consideration by Kentucky officials are New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Mike Riley and South Carolina offensive coordinator Charlie Strong.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.