LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Three high-ranking University of Louisville athletics officials were laid off Friday in a restructuring of the department, including Mark Jurich, the son of former longtime athletics director Tom Jurich.

Besides Mark Jurich, the senior associate athletics director for development, the university terminated Kim Maffet, associate athletics director for human resources, and Julianne Waldron, associate athletics director for marketing.

Interim athletics director Vince Tyra said the moves were aimed at saving money and reorganizing departmental responsibilities.

In an interview, Tyra said his rethinking of the athletic association’s structure was prompted by last month’s retirement of Kevin Miller, the department’s longtime operations chief, and the resignation of Christine Simatacolos, senior associate athletics director for student life.

“It creates an opportunity for me to look at the needs of the department and how we can be more efficient with the senior staff,” Tyra said.

He said the athletics association will still have people in charge of fundraising, human resources and marketing, but the responsibilities may be combined with other senior roles in a new structure which hasn’t been finalized.

“We are splicing positons and creating some new ones,” Tyra said.

In a statement issued earlier on Friday, Tyra said each of the downsized employees has “made productive contributions to this university and we wish them the best in their future ventures.”

A spokesman for Tom Jurich, who is in a legal battle with U of L over his own firing in October after 20 years on the job, said in a statement that the firings represent “retaliation” against him.

“It is very unfortunate for these individuals who exceeded expectations for the fans, players and coaches at the University of Louisville,” Tom Jurich spokesman Bob Gunnell said.

Mark Jurich, a former U of L baseball player who played professionally before joining his father’s department in 2008, tweeted Friday that he was saddened by the decision.

“I want to thank the thousands of friends I have made as a student-athlete, administrator and fan. While the past 3 months have been difficult, nothing will change my love for this amazing University,” he said.

Tyra, who recounted his friendship with Tom Jurich when he was introduced as the interim replacement last year, said the move was difficult for him as well.

“There’s emotions with me because Mark has been a close friend of mine for many years,” he said. “I’m trying to do what I think is best for the athletics department.”

Tyra declined to respond to Tom Jurich’s claim that the move was retaliatory.

The university hopes to name a permanent athletics director by the end of March, and Tyra is seeking the position.

He said he had no hesitation about reorganizing the department despite his interim status.

“The last thing you want is a custodian. You want somebody who is going to do what’s best for the business,” he said.

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