DAVIE, Fla. — USC offensive coordinator Norm Chow and new Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said Thursday that Chow was not a candidate for the head-coaching job at Syracuse.
Gross, in the midst of completing his responsibilities as a senior associate athletic director at USC, fired Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni on Wednesday, fueling speculation that he would hire Chow.
But in separate interviews, Chow and Gross said they spoke late Wednesday night and agreed that the Syracuse job was not for Chow.
"It's not something that I want or he wants to pursue," Chow said before practice. "It's by mutual agreement. He is a very good friend. This business is too tough on friendships like that."
Said Gross: "We're really close, but there's no way I would ever take him from the Trojan family. If somebody else wants to take him and he goes, that's another deal.
"The reason we even had to address it with each other is because everybody made such a connect-the-dots thing on this thing and thought it was pretty obvious. There was no truth to any of that stuff.
"He's going to have so many other opportunities. Syracuse isn't the right deal."
Gross said he arrived in Florida on Tuesday with USC, then took a flight early Wednesday to Syracuse, N.Y., where he met with Pasqualoni and informed him of his dismissal. Gross was back in Florida by late Wednesday and said he ran into Chow in the lobby upon his return.
After he'd fired Pasqualoni, Gross said he would seek a coach with college and pro experience. He declined to name potential candidates Thursday. But sources said Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and Texas co-defensive coordinator Greg Robinson were among those who could be in the mix and that former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel also had expressed interest.
USC Coach Pete Carroll said he had spoken to Gross about potential candidates but declined to name them. "It sounds like he's looking for a defensive guy," Carroll said. "He likes the way we did it here and it sounds like that's the kind of formula he's trying to put together."
After Nick Saban's move from Louisiana State to the Miami Dolphins, and Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops' admission Thursday that he might consider an NFL opportunity in the future, Carroll said he had no desire to return to the NFL.
"People always think I'm the guy that's going to go," Carroll said. "The guys that haven't been are the guys that want to see what that mountain is to climb -- and a mountain it is."
Carroll said he could not foresee a day when he would want to climb the mountain again.
"I feel so comfortable here and I feel like I've already been there," he said. "I don't see it happening. It's not something that's on my radar screen. I have too much to do here and too much fun ... to keep living in.
"There's some awfully interesting jobs for guys out there.... You could see why guys would be tempted to do that. And more power to them."
Tailback LenDale White expressed frustration about the decision to hold him out of most practice drills because of his sore right ankle but said he realized the goal was to get to the game in the best condition possible. Carroll continued to call White questionable. "I'm going to get in his ear and let him know I'm ready to go," White said.
Defensive tackle Manuel Wright (high ankle sprain) increased his workload and said he was looking forward to today's practice, "because I finally get to hit somebody."