Louisville, Ky. — Louisville trustees formally fired athletic director Tom Jurich in the wake of its involvement in a national federal investigation of college basketball.
The Board of Trustees voted 10-3 on Wednesday to fire Jurich after 20 years as the school’s AD. Jurich, 61, had been placed on paid administrative Sept. 27 by interim university President Greg Postel.
Louisville’s Athletic Association fired men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino on Monday.
Jurich shepherded Louisville’s 2014 entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference.
He also was responsible for facility upgrades and saw numerous sports thrive under coaches he hired.
Vince Tyra was named acting AD since Oct. 3, a move the Athletic Association approved on Monday before firing Pitino.
Louisville’s acknowledgment of being part of a federal probe into bribery of college recruits proved to be Jurich’s undoing. Postel’s Sept. 27 disciplinary letter to the AD called allegations in the complaint “disturbing and unprecedented.” His letter also called “unacceptable” the level of misconduct, alleged criminal activity and the negative attention it has brought to Louisville.
Postel also criticized Jurich for failing to update or consult the athletic board about his negotiation of the department’s sponsorship extension with Adidas.
Jurich’s lawyer, Alison M. Stemler, disputed Postel’s allegations in a letter that also questioned whether school’s disciplinary action might violate a contract clause.
Several Jurich supporters carrying signs urging trustees to retain the AD gathered outside the Grawemeyer administration building and briefly inside the meeting room.
Jurich’s attorney, Alison M. Stemler, and members of Jurich’s legal team joined the meeting shortly after it began.
Trustees ultimately followed the same path as the ULAA, deciding to part ways with Jurich and move forward.
Jurich departs as construction continues on a $63 million expansion of the football stadium due for completion by next season. He had a long record of accomplishments that helped Louisville build one of the nation’s top athletic programs.
Jurich also remained loyal to coaches he hired, to a fault in some cases.
Jurich hired Pitino as coach in 2001 and celebrated Louisville’s third NCCA men’s basketball championship trophy 12 years later in perhaps the school’s most successful year in athletics.
Villanova has been picked by Big East coaches to win its fifth straight regular-season conference title.
Jay Wright’s team received eight first-place votes from the league’s coaches. Wildcats guard Jalen Brunson was chosen as the conference’s preseason player of the year, and Omari Spellman was selected freshman of the year. The Wildcats return two starters from last season’s championship team.
... Defending Southeastern Conference champion Kentucky is picked to win the league’s men’s basketball title again.
Voting for SEC preseason player of the year resulted in a three-way tie featuring Georgia forward Yante Maten (Bloomfield Hills), Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. and Texas A&M forward Robert Williams.