LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – On Wednesday night, ESPN commentators at halftime of the Louisville-Virginia game opined that Virginia coach Tony Bennett and Louisville’s David Padgett were No. 1 and 2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year race, “however you want to arrange them.”

With a team tied for second in the ACC and playing perhaps its best basketball of the season despite a 10-point loss at Virginia on Wednesday, Padgett continues to impress opposing coaches and his bosses.

More than once during an athletic association meeting, board members or interim athletic director Vince Tyra himself praised the work Padgett and his staff have done this season.

“David’s been terrific,” Tyra told the board. “He’s been mature beyond his years in handling this situation, handling this team. I’ve tried to ask people for patience, as  you have a coaching staff that is working together for the first time. The players have to get accustomed not only to David but to the staff, and the staff has to get used to each other. I think we’ve seen things improve as the season has gone on, inside the coaching staff and with the team. We still have high expectations here, and they won’t change with David this year nor in the coming years.”

When asked after the meeting if any of that means that Padgett is getting inside position on the permanent head coaching job at U of L, Tyra proclaimed the discussion premature.

“I think you’re probably getting ahead of yourself there,” Tyra said. “We’ve got a lot of season left to think about it. And I think, again, what I’m trying to assess is just how the program is run, where we are, looking at what’s best, looking ahead. Look, I’m very proud of what he’s done, at his age and his maturity level and what he’s done with the team and the assistants, he’s done a great job with the program this year. But I think it’s early for me to really speculate on that. I know there’s been a lot of that around. But we’ll continue to have our conversations and see how we perform, and frankly how he performs the rest of the year.”


Of course, Louisville has no full-time athletic director, either, but that could change soon.

Interim president Dr. Greg Postel told the athletic association board on Thursday that the process for hiring an athletic director will be expedited. A committee already seated to aid in the search will get requests for proposals from search firms back by Feb. 13. At that time, a search firm will be selected, and that firm will work with the committee to come up with candidates.

Interviews will take place in the month after that, with the goal of hiring a permanent athletics director by the end of March. Tyra, last week in Miami, told WDRB that he will be a candidate for the job.

“It’s a very aggressive goal,” Postel said. “We’re told this is not at all impossible. But we’re going to ask a lot of the committee.”

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