By Dalton Ray —
Men’s basketball acting head coach David Padgett and the University of Louisville are parting ways. Interim athletic director Vince Tyra informed Padgett that the school will be going to another direction for a permanent head coach.
Padgett addressed the media in a press conference, thanking his team, staff and fans — as well as fielding questions about his future and the decision.
“I would like to be the head coach here for the rest of my life, that’s how important this place is to me … I don’t live in a fairy tale world. It wasn’t a surprise,” Padgett said. “It’s one of those things that you know it’s coming, but it doesn’t change the fact that when it’s there, it’s a weird feeling.”
Padgett added that he felt he, his staff and his did the best they could for the situation that was placed in front of them.
“You know it’s coming, but until you actually hear it, it’s hard to set in,” Padgett said. “I’m going to walk out of this room with my head held high because I gave this program and these players every single ounce of energy I had and they did the same in return.”
Tyra thanked Padgett for his efforts this season.
“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” Tyra’s statement said. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching.”
The 33-year-old coach called this season a learning experience.
“This was a learning experience from a personal standpoint, from a professional standpoint and a coaching standpoint,” Padgett said. “More than anything, I learned I have to confidence to do this going forward.”
Padgett served as the acting head coach this season, starting Sept. 29 after previous coach Rick Pitino was fired. Taking over three weeks before the start of the season, Padgett guided Louisville to their 16th straight 20-win season.
The Cardinals went 22-14 under Padgett, reaching the quarterfinal of the NIT. Louisville just missed the NCAA tournament, listed as one of the First Four Out.
The 22 wins is the second most by a first-year coach in program history, just behind Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
File photo / The Louisville Cardinal