By Dalton Ray–
Amid news of a U of L coach being involved in a national college basketball corruption case, men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich have been placed on administrative leave. Pitino’s lawyer said Pitino is “effectively fired.”
Jurich’s leave is paid while Pitino’s is unpaid. At the press conference announcing this decision, U of L Interim President Greg Postel said their future at the university “will be addressed at a later date.”
Postel named assistant coach David Padgett as the interim head coach on Sept. 29.
Freshman Brian Bowen, who is allegedly named in the FBI indictment, is suspended from all NCAA activity indefinitely.
Postel met with Pitino and Jurich individually the morning of Sept. 27 said neither offered to resign from their position.
News broke Tuesday, Sept. 26 that the FBI arrested 10 men — including major college coaches and sportswear representatives — involved in funneling money to recruiters to influence their college decisions.
Shortly after the news broke, a U of L coach had been identified during a video recording discussing potentially paying for a 2019 recruit and being “very low key” in terms of payment due to the university’s probation.
The program is also suspected of paying a recruit nearly $100,000 from May to September 2017.
Postel said the university has information on the two coaches involved, but declined to release their names citing the ongoing investigation.
Jurich released a statement through his attorney, calling the FBI’s findings “heartbreaking.”
“Disappointment does not even come close to describing my feelings surrounding the allegation that any member of the U of L basketball staff could be involved in the criminal conduct announced yesterday,” Jurich’s statement said. “I love this university, the Louisville community and our fans. I plan to continue to help U of L overcome the challenges it faces and work cooperatively with the university.”
The university is currently on probation for a former basketball staff member hiring strippers to entertain recruits.
In 2010, Karen Sypher was found guilty for extorting Pitino. He allegedly paid to keep Sypher quiet about their 2003 relationship.
Jurich has stood side-by-side with Pitino during both of his previous scandals, and may go down with his Hall of Fame employee.
Jurich came to Louisville from Colorado State in 1997 and has played a critical role in the national surge U of L has taken since his hiring.
Pitino is the only college coach to win a national title with two different programs — Kentucky in 1996 and Louisville in 2013. He led U of L to three Final Four appearances.
Pitino has 770 career wins and 416 at Louisville, the second most of all time in the program’s history.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photo by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal