U of L assistant coaches 'still employed' but not active with basketball team
“They are still with us, still employed,” acting athletic director Vince Tyra told reporters. “That’s something I’m working on literally as we speak.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) – University of Louisville assistant coaches Jordan Fair and Kenny Johnson are “still employed” but not active with the basketball program, acting interim athletics director Vince Tyra said in a press conference on Wednesday.
It is unclear if the coaches are suspended, but Tyra said he has not seen Fair lately and Johnson has been around but not involved with practice or other duties.
“They are still with us, still employed,” Tyra told reporters when asked about their status following the announcement last week of a federal investigation into the alleged payment of recruits. “That’s something I’m working on literally as we speak.”
Current interim coach David Padgett is “a one-man band,” said Tyra, who was named active athletic director yesterday.
A criminal complaint unsealed last week in U.S. District Court in New York claims a U of L assistant coach known as “Coach-1” took part in a plan to funnel $100,000 from a company known to be Adidas, U of L's official apparel provider, to the family of a sought-after basketball recruit this summer. That coach hasn't been named.
A second coach, identified as “Coach-2,” is also alleged to have worked to secure money for the prospect. Neither coach has been named publicly, although some national reports have cited unnamed federal law enforcement sources in identifying “Coach-2” as suspended U of L head coach Rick Pitino.
Johnson, according to a state database, makes $375,000 a year. Fair's salary was not immediately available.
Padgett, who also spoke with reporters, said the decision of what will happen with Fair and Johnson is not totally up to him, and deferred to Tyra.
Tyra told reporters he is trying to “clear distractions for David and this team to get on with business.”
While he is currently the only coach, Padgett said his job is easier because U of L has a deep and experienced roster this year. He said the players have been focused and “unbelievable” in practice. Padgett also expressed his support for Pitino, who is on unpaid administrative leave.
“There is only one 'Coach P,'” he told reporters. “I am Coach Padgett.”
Tyra also spoke glowingly of the man he replaced, Tom Jurich, and said he was told by Jurich’s son, Mark, that his father is “comfortable” with Tyra leading the program in his absence.
Jurich was placed on administrative leave Sept. 27, and his fate is in the hands of U of L’s board of trustees.
Tyra said he is reaching out to former Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum and past U of L players for support, asking them to come by as much as possible.
His father, Charlie Tyra, is one of only four players – the others are Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith and Pervis Ellison – to have his jersey number (8) retired by the school, according to a 2006 obituary in The Courier-Journal.
“One thing I always enjoyed as a kid was watching how the program involved my father,” said Tyra. “I think it’s great to recognize former athletes.”
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