Former Wigan manager Paul Jewell says he has rejected an "unbelievable" offer to return to the club.
Whelan (centre) must now decide his next move
Jewell, who resigned at the end of the last season, was the preferred choice of Latics chairman Dave Whelan after the sacking of Chris Hutchings.
But he told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He made me an absolutely fantastic offer, an unbelievable offer, but I've had my time there.
"I'm ready to come back to work but I'm not for Wigan."
Jewell left the club after guiding the club to Premier League safety on the final day of the season, saying he needed a break from football.
I said when we stayed up that I'd taken Wigan as far as I could and I still believe that
Former Wigan boss Paul Jewell
His assistant Hutchings stepped up to replace him but he was sacked after just 12 Premier League games in charge.
Wigan are languishing in 19th position, with two league wins in 13 games.
"I was disappointed to see Chris lose his job," said Jewell.
"The chairman called me last Monday to see if I was interested but I said when we stayed up that I'd taken Wigan as far as I could and I still believe that.
"I took them from the third tier to the Premier League and a cup final and I'm proud of that but it was time for Wigan and me to move on."
Jewell's decision leaves the Wigan position wide open.
Whelan and his board will now look through applications before formulating a plan to take the club forward.
Graeme Souness and Joe Royle are two other names to have been strongly linked with the position.
And Royle on Thursday withdrew his interest in the vacant Leicester City post, citing "personal reasons".
But no decision on the Wigan job is expected before Whelan returns next week from a holiday in the Caribbean.