The board that oversees athletics at the University of Louisville has unanimously voted to fire men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Pitino had been on unpaid leave since late last month, after it was disclosed that U of L was among the schools included in a federal investigation of bribery involving recruits and their families.
The action was taken following a closed door session of the U of L athletic association board. Pitino was not present at the meeting, and his attorney has argued that the school’s actions against Pitino are a breach of his contract.
Pitino’s attorney, Steve Pence, said that his client “could not have known” about bribery and other activities alleged in the federal investigation.
Interim school President Greg Postel said the board was not swayed by the argument.
“We listened carefully to what they said, we read carefully everything they gave us,” Postel said. “At the end of the conversation, we felt that our initial decision to begin the process of termination for cause was still in the best interests of the university.”
Pitino came to Louisville in 2001 after a stint with the NBAs Boston Celtics. Prior to that he spent nine seasons at the University of Kentucky. He’s the only men’s NCAA Division One coach to lead two schools to national titles — UK in 1996 and Louisville in 2013.
The NCAA has ordered that the 2013 title be vacated because of rules violations by the program in a prostitution scandal. Louisville is appealing the punishment.
Later this week, the U of L board of trustees is expected to take up the job status of athletic director Tom Jurich, who was also placed on administrative leave when the federal recruiting complaint was made public.
This story has been updated.