Louisville Cardinals initiate action to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino with cause

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 2, 2017 at 7:53 PM
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The University of Louisville Athletic Association voted unanimously on Monday to initiate the process of dismissing head basketball coach Rick Pitino for cause.

Pitino reportedly stands to lose $44 million remaining on his existing contract, per Yahoo Sports, if fired with cause. According to his contract, Pitino must be given 10 days' notice before any firing can be official.

"The motion was short and simple," Louisville interim president Greg Postel said in a news conference after Monday's closed-door meeting. "The board requested of me and authorized me to initiate the process of termination for cause as defined in Coach Pitino's employment contact."

Postel's announcement came five days removed from Pitino being placed on unpaid administrative leave in the wake of news that an FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting included Louisville's program.

David Padgett, 32, was named the Cardinals' interim head basketball coach in place of Pitino on Friday.

Postel said the school will pay "nothing beyond the terms" outlined in Pitino's contract.

Pitino's lawyer, Steve Pence, told the Courier-Journal on Sunday he put Louisville officials on notice that his client's effective dismissal violates the coach's employment agreement. He also said that breach of contract could become the basis for a lawsuit.

One of the most successful college basketball coaches in history, Pitino was 416-143 in 16 seasons as Louisville head coach and is in the Naismith Hall of Fame with 770 career victories.

"The decision to exercise rights for cause in an employment agreement at a university is an extremely difficult decision no matter who the person is," Postel said. "I would have just as much angst and just as much need to do it correctly no matter who it was. ... It's important that we be fair and follow the agreement and do this right for any employee of the university."

Louisville did not take any action on athletic director Tom Jurich on Monday.

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