VALDOSTA -- You can go home, or at least to a familiar place, again. Unless you are Jim Yarbrough, who's staying with his new familiar place over an old one.

Yarbrough told The Valdosta Daily Times Tuesday night that he'll stay at Valdosta State and take his name out of the running for College of Charleston head men's basketball coaching job.

"It's not been an easy decision," Yarbrough said. "My wife and I have talked for several days."

The College of Charleston job is one Yarbrough wanted to jump at.

Personally, he was married on the campus and both his children were born in the city.

He'd been an assistant there for six years under longtime coach John Kresse before coming to VSU two years ago.

Yarbrough has kept up with the program and the players he helped recruit there. He's always been very familiar with Charleston's results, and watched what would be Kresse's last game on television while preparing for the Gulf South Conference title game last month.

Kresse retired soon after that game, one of 32 openings in Division I according to

Half the jobs have been filled. Few have been open as long as the Charleston job, and with no interviews set Yarbrough decided Tuesday to take his name out of consideration.

He now wants to turn his full attention toward recruiting (signing day is next Wednesday) and building on the 24-8 season which had the Blazers advancing to the regional finals.

"I've told our recruits we're moving forward," said Yarbrough. "It's been way too distracting.

"(Charleston) has a new president, and I'm not really sure what they want to do. It has been 23 years since they last had to hire a basketball coach."

For every former Kresse assistant named in speculation, other up-and-coming assistants and former head coaches have been mentioned. Over a week ago, Yarbrough had talked with the Charleston newspaper about keeping the job in the "family."

But he also says the Yarbrough family has found a home in Valdosta.

"The community has welcomed us and has been supportive," Yarbrough said. "They want us to build something good."

The 2001-2002 Blazers doubled their win total from the previous year, making the finals of the Gulf South Conference and South Region tournaments -- losing to West Georgia both games.

Yarbrough was named South Region coach of the year.

"He's done a great job with that program," veteran West Georgia head coach Ed Murphy said after the South Region title game. "Usually they were out of (Gulf South) tournament contention by the first time through the league.

"It took me nine years to make our first region final. It took him two."

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