MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – The search for John Calipari’s replacement has gotten off to a rough start for Memphis.

School officials talked to Southern California coach Tim Floyd, and he chose to stay put Thursday. The Tigers also wanted to steal Bruce Pearl away from instate rival Tennessee and wound up watching him agree to a renegotiated six-year contract by Thursday night.

Athletic director R.C. Johnson and his boosters had promised they would spare no effort and planned to go after names that would make people go “Wow.” They did just that early with reports Thursday that said Memphis had offered Pearl a deal, even though school officials denied that any offer was made.

Memphis spokesman Bob Winn said he conferred with Johnson on Thursday morning about Pearl.

“To the questions of is he coming here to be interviewed and have we made an offer? No and No,” Winn said.

Calipari was introduced Wednesday as Kentucky’s new coach and the highest paid in college basketball with an eight year, $31.65 million deal. He went 252-69 in nine seasons and led the Tigers to six NCAA tournament berths including four straight regional semifinals and a loss in the 2008 national title game.

So new names are surfacing as potential candidates. The Commercial Appeal cited a source that the Tigers would approach Scott Drew of Baylor after the NIT championship game, which the Beras lost 69-63 to Penn State.


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