MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun passed up a lucrative offer from South Carolina, the Journal Inquirer of Manchester reported Monday.

Calhoun, who led UConn to a national championship in 1999 and is 349-142 in 15 seasons at the school, turned down South Carolina athletic director Mike McGee's latest offer Sunday.

``I have nothing but the highest regard for Mike McGee and the people at South Carolina,'' Calhoun said Monday, ``but it came down to a personal decision for (wife) Pat and myself.

``Connecticut is our home, Connecticut is who we are, Connecticut is where we want to be. We truly love it here.''

Calhoun could not be reached by The Associated Press for additional comment Monday. But spokesman Tim Tolokan said Calhoun had confirmed the report.

South Carolina is looking for a replacement for Eddie Fogler, who resigned last month after a 15-15 season.

Gamecocks spokesman Kerry Tharp would not comment on whether the school had pursued Calhoun, but said South Carolina had a handful of candidates and should have a new coach within a week.

Kentucky's Tubby Smith, Memphis' John Calipari and Tulsa's Buzz Peterson also have been among those McGee reportedly has pursued, without success. McGee also has spoken to former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins, who accepted the South Carolina job in 1993, then backed out, leading to Fogler's hiring.

Calhoun, who will turn 59 next month, said there were times during the weekend that he thought he would go.

``I've often said that my plan was to retire from UConn, but this gave it as stern a test as I've had,'' Calhoun said. ``But in the end, Connecticut won for us. UConn is where I want to win another national championship, that's what we're aspiring to.

``There are things in life that you can't replace, like friends. And those are the things that are most important to us.''