EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Tim Floyd insists he is not heading back to Southern California.
Floyd, who now coaches at UTEP, spoke following the Miners’ 56-54 loss to No. 25 Memphis on Tuesday night and said his meeting with USC athletic director Pat Haden was not about the men’s basketball opening.
“They did not offer me a job nor was I looking for a job,” said Floyd. “We had a great three-hour conversation and that’s all I’m going to say.”
UTEP athletic director Bob Stull had said earlier that Floyd and Haden met to discuss the coaching job. Stull said Haden contacted him six weeks ago about discussing the vacancy with Floyd.
“Coach Floyd has always indicated to me that he is happy working at UTEP, and until he tells me otherwise he is our coach,” Stull said.
Floyd resigned from USC under accusations that he improperly recruited star O.J. Mayo. His successor, Kevin O’Neill, was fired in January after three mostly disappointing seasons.
“I’ve been called on for a few jobs since I’ve been here at UTEP and the immediate response and answer was, `Not interested,”‘ said Floyd. “In this particular case, the relationships I had at (USC), the way we left the school, was not comfortable for me and my family, my former players and my coaches. We chose to take a high road when we left.”
Floyd’s contract with UTEP runs through 2015 and pays at least $600,000 a year, according to the El Paso Times. He owes no financial penalty under the contract if he leaves UTEP.
While USC self-imposed sanctions on its basketball program over Mayo’s recruitment, the NCAA did not find any violations committed by Floyd. When he became UTEP’s coach in 2010, Floyd said he wanted it to be clear that his resignation from USC was “not an admission of guilt.”
“We are coaching here because we had no NCAA violations. Sometimes people around the country, maybe the media, may not understand that,” said Floyd.
“I haven’t said much about any subject but when (USC) called, I felt like I owed it to our former players, our former coaches and our current coaches, guys that may be on this team that may want to coach someday, to go speak with them because the obvious answer is that (USC) did their homework. They weren’t going to hire anybody who broke any NCAA rules.”
Haden replaced Mike Garrett, the athletic director who originally hired Floyd at USC. Floyd had success turning an also-ran program at a school known mostly for football into a winner. He went 85-50 in four seasons, with three trips to the NCAA tournament and one Sweet 16 berth.
After the 2009 season, allegations surfaced that Floyd paid a Los Angeles event promoter $1,000 in cash to steer Mayo to USC. Floyd resigned in June 2009 and the school barred the team from the postseason for one year.
Floyd was hired the following year in El Paso, three decades after he got his first coaching job under Hall of Fame Miners coach Don Haskins. He has a 56-39 record with the Miners in three seasons.
USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said in an email that Haden would not comment on the search until a coach is hired.