Dino Gaudio and Chris Mack

Louisville coach Chris Mack and assistant coach Dino Gaudio at halftime of Louisville’s win at Notre Dame in January of 2019.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Former University of Louisville basketball assistant coach Dino Gaudio has been federally charged with extortion.

Gaudio tried to extort money and "other things of value" and injure the school's reputation during a March 17 in-person meeting with officials, according to U.S. Attorney Michael Bennet.

Gaudio, who was let go by head coach Chris Mack on March 18, threatened to report to the media allegations that the men's basketball team had violated NCAA rules, according to the charging document.

After being told his contract was not being renewed, Gaudio threatened to release details of the violations if he was not paid his salary for an additional 17 months, according to court documents.

In addition, Gaudio sent a text to university officials containing a recruiting video he was threatening to release publicly. Gaudio claimed that the basketball team had produced recruiting videos for potential players and also violated NCAA rules in using graduate assistants in practice. 

The text "traveled" outside the state, according to the document filed in U.S. District Court.

He has been charged with Interstate Communication with Intent to Extort, a felony which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Attorney Brian Butler, who represents, Gaudio said that "when his contract wasn't renewed in March by someone that he had been friends with for 30 years ... he lost his temper, he said some things he regrets saying."

The comments were "taped," Butler said, and "he wasn't given a chance to walk those back."

"It's a sad day for Dino Gaudio. It's a sad day for his family. He intends to take full responsibility for the comments he made," Butler said. 

"We hope that everyone that knows coach Gaudio, that he has touched will reflect on all the 40 years of good and put in context a few seconds or minutes of unfortunate comments he made." 

Gaudio’s termination was a surprise. The one-time head coach at Wake Forest had been a mentor to Mack and the coaches have known each other for three decades.

In a statement, Mack said "the University and I were the victims of Coach Gaudio’s conduct and I will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in their investigations."

In addition, Mack said the university takes "seriously any allegation of NCAA violations within our basketball program and will work within the NCAA processes to fully review the allegations.”

The university released a statement saying it could not comment on Gaudio's allegations due to the ongoing federal investigation.

However, the university said "it continues to cooperate with authorities as well as with the NCAA on the matter.”

Gaudio joined Mack when he came to Louisville from Xavier, ending a successful eight-year run as a studio analyst for ESPN’s college basketball coverage.

Like Mack, Gaudio broke into college coaching at Xavier. He learned the game under Pete Gillen. He spent six years there, and later returned as an assistant under Skip Prosser before leaving for Wake Forest.

He took over the Demon Deacons after Prosser’s death, and led the team to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and a 61-31 record in three seasons.

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Digital Reporter

Jason Riley is a criminal justice reporter for WDRB.com. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after 14 years with The Courier-Journal. He graduated from Western Kentucky University. Jason can be reached at 502-585-0823 and jriley@wdrb.com.