Pitino out as expected amid investigation

The Associated Press - October 17, 2017 11:58 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Rick Pitino has been able to roam the sidelines as Louisville’s iconic men’s basketball coach, even defiantly at times, holding onto his job amid a series of highly embarrassing missteps off the court.

Things looked bleak this time around, with a seemingly inevitable departure looming in the weeks since the latest scandal became public. But even after the school was linked to a federal bribery investigation , no one completely counted Pitino out. Not until Monday.

The decision was unanimous.

Louisville’s Athletic Association officially fired Pitino on Monday, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that the program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe.

The association, which oversees Louisville’s sports programs and is composed of trustees, faculty, students and administrators, voted unanimously to oust the longtime Cardinals coach following a board meeting. The ULAA even heard from Pitino’s attorney, who made the case that his client “could not have known” about activities alleged in the federal investigation.

Not long after Steve Pence’s 45-minute address to the ULAA, the association announced its decision after five hours of meetings.

“We listened carefully to what they said, we read carefully everything they gave us,” university interim President Greg Postel said of the legal team’s presentation. “At the end of the conversation we felt that our initial decision to begin the process of termination for cause was still in the best interests of the university.”

Pence said later in a text to The Associated Press that the decision was “disappointing but not unexpected.”

Pitino has $44 million remaining in salary and bonuses in a contract extension through the 2025-26 season. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $5.1 million. After Louisville officially terminated Pitino, Adidas said in an email to the AP that it has ended its personal services agreement with him.

The association had authorized Postel to begin firing Pitino for cause on Oct. 2 after Postel placed the coach on unpaid administrative leave Sept. 27. At that time Postel also placed athletic director Tom Jurich on paid administrative leave. Trustees are expected to decide Jurich’s future during their meeting Wednesday.

 

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