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He talked with the Volunteers for several days and appeared to be leaning toward heading to Knoxville.

“They made an offer (Tuesday) and I said I’d think about it and talk about it with my family,” Strong said.

But in an environment when coaches are fired with winning records, Louisville’s commitment to Strong last year played a major role in his decision to turn the Vols down. The Cardinals gave him his deal last year when the team was 2-4.

Thursday culminated what has been a whirlwind few days for Strong.

There were reports that linked him to the Auburn job and raised questions about Strong’s future. The Tigers ended up hiring their former offensive coordinator and Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn on Tuesday, a day after Strong was mentioned as Tennessee’s top target.

On Monday, Strong held a bizarre news conference in which he managed to stir up more questions about his future when he didn’t definitively say he would be staying at Louisville. He also criticized the Cardinals’ fan base for their attendance at football games.

But when the dust settled Thursday, Strong decided to stay at the school that gave him his first head coaching job. He is 24-14 in three seasons at Louisville.

“You look at those jobs, but I have a great job here,” Strong said. “I have a great person that I work for, and I think that’s what it comes down to. When you talk to an athletic director it’s more about not only your job, but it’s about your family and caring about your family. When they ask about your daughters, that’s when you know they care more about you as a person.

“It became clear to me that it was best to stay in Louisville,” Strong said. “We haven’t finished the job yet.”