Sources: U of L offered $1.5 million to Pitino charity in settlement bid
The offer, which was rejected, was to a foundation honoring Rick Pitino’s late son Daniel, the sources said.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville offered to pay $1.5 million to a charity honoring Rick Pitino’s late son Daniel in return for the coach’s resignation, multiple sources close to the matter told WDRB News.
The offer was not accepted, and Pitino was fired at a meeting of the U of L athletic association board on Monday.
Steve Pence, an attorney for Pitino, declined to comment. U of L interim President Greg Postel’s office did not immediately comment.
Pitino and his wife, JoAnne, founded the Daniel Pitino Foundation in memory of their 6-month-old son who died of a congenital heart condition in 1987, according to the university and Pitino’s website. It works to aid underprivileged children, among other causes.
In terminating Pitino for "cause," U of L contends that it owes Pitino none of the more than $40 million in compensation remaining on his contract.
Postel acknowledged that Pitino may file a lawsuit challenging his firing, but he also wouldn't rule out a negotiated settlement with the former coach.
In an affidavit presented to the board, Pitino said he doesn't dispute university officials' right to fire him.
"But I vehemently reject its right to do so 'for cause.' I have given no 'cause' for termination of my contract," he said.
Pence met for more than one hour with the board while it convened in private. In an interview, he said he and Pitino were "disappointed" but the news was not "unexpected," pointing out that board members did not ask him any questions.
"They signaled that this was going to be their position all along," Pence said.
He declined to comment on whether there had been a settlement offer and suggested he may file a lawsuit on Pitino's behalf.
"We have limited options now going forward," Pence said. "There will be a next step."
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