CRAWFORD | Jurich says if he'd been told Pitino was 'Coach-2,' he'd have fired him
Eric Crawford spoke with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich by phone on Friday afternoon.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, in his only public conversation since being placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, told WDRB News on Friday that if he’d been presented proof that men's basketball head coach Rick Pitino did the things "Coach-2" is alleged to have done in the FBI investigation unsealed Tuesday, he’d have fired him.
Jurich said he only knows what he’s seen in media reports about Pitino's connection to the case. On Thursday, several national media outlets cited anonymous law enforcement sources saying that the Hall of Fame coach is “Coach-2,” who called a high-level shoe company executive to facilitate more money being given to a recruit headed to U of L.
Pitino, through his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing.
In a phone interview Friday, Jurich declined to speak in detail, but he expressed surprise and frustration at the allegations against the basketball program. When asked about "Coach-2," he said would have acted if he had been given evidence of wrongdoing.
“The idea that I would turn a blind eye toward blatant violations of NCAA rules is preposterous,” Jurich said. “No information was presented to me naming Rick Pitino as "Coach-2" in the FBI affidavit. If I had evidence that any coach or athletic department personnel ever willfully violated NCAA rules they would be immediately dismissed. But, I have never been presented with that information."
Jurich didn’t want to answer further questions, though he said he does hope to speak to the wider Louisville community at a later date.
His only public comment prior to this came through his attorney, Alison Stemler of Frost Brown Todd, on Wednesday:
“For the last 20 years, I have dedicated my life to the University of Louisville. 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. My intent has always been to run every athletic program at the University in an honest and compliant manner. It is heartbreaking to me that the alleged intentional and secret criminal acts can bring such harm to our school. I love the University, the Louisville community and all of our fans. I plan to continue to help U of L overcome the challenges it faces and work cooperatively with the University with the support of the U of L Board of Trustees following their meeting on October 19. “
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