Education Sports

David Padgett has been named interim men’s basketball head coach of the University of Louisville.

The announcement comes two days after coach Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid leave after revelations that U of L coaches and a player are tied to an alleged bribery scheme.

“David Padgett was an exceptional player and has been an outstanding young coach for the Cardinals,” said U of L Interim President Greg Postel. “His familiarity with the players and the current system, combined with his character and work ethic, make him a natural fit for the position. We look forward to a successful year under his leadership.”

Padgett played for Pitino and the Cardinals from 2005 to 2008 and is a former McDonald’s All-American. He joined the coaching staff in 2014 and became assistant coach in 2015.

“This is definitely my home and I care deeply about this city and this university,” said Padgett during Friday’s news conference.

“Me doing this is for them … I want to do this for these players. These kids deserve it.”

On Thursday, several national media outlets reported that Pitino was “Coach-2” in the federal criminal complaint alleging a widespread bribery scheme in college basketball.  In an interview with WFPL News, Steve Pence, an attorney for Pitino, wouldn’t say whether the Hall of Fame coach was the one referred to in the complaint.

Pitino issued a statement Friday saying he had “intentionally avoided making any public statements — primarily because so few facts are known.” He maintained that he had no knowledge of the alleged bribery scheme.

“I’ve previously stated, I had no knowledge of any payments to any recruit or their family. But I was the head coach and I will take ownership of my decisions,” he wrote. “The University took the action they thought was necessary and I will do the same.”

Here’s the full statement, as reported by WDRB:

“There’s been a lot of turmoil the last few days and I’ve intentionally avoided making any public statements – primarily because so few facts are known. But I wish to make a few now.

“First, I want to thank all my players from Providence, UK and Louisville. Your support means more to me than I can possibly express.

“Second, to the many friends and fans who reached out to me in the last few days: I owe a thousand thanks and an apology for the disappointment you must have.

“Third, as I’ve previously stated, I had no knowledge of any payments to any recruit or their family. But I was the head coach and I will take ownership of my decisions. The University took the action they thought was necessary and I will do the same.

“Finally, Tom Jurich is the best athletic director in the country, and thanks to him I coached Louisville basketball for over sixteen years where we witnessed many great things. From conference USA, AAC, Big East and now the ACC. I am proud of our many  accomplishments and appreciate the continued support of the Louisville community. Again, a thousand thanks.”

Rick Pitino

Athletic director Tom Jurich was placed on paid administrative leave pending a vote by the board of trustees to determine his future at the school.

This story has been updated.