Louisville tabs Padgett as interim replacement for Pitino
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — David Padgett understands replacing Louisville coach Rick Pitino would be difficult under any circumstance.
So when Padgett arrived Friday for his introductory news conference as the Cardinals interim men’s basketball coach, after ambling his 6-foot-11 frame to the podium and attempting to pull the microphone up to a comfortable level, he quipped, “I knew this was going to be a problem.”
It won’t be the last time he tries to get comfortable in his new position.
University interim President Greg Postel introduced Padgett, making the announcement after the school had acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation and placed Pitino on unpaid administrative leave. Louisville also has placed athletic director Tom Jurich on paid administrative leave.
“It’s not going to be easy,” Padgett said. “It’s a very tumultuous time.”
Ten people have been arrested in the corruption case, including four college assistant coaches and an Adidas executive. Cardinals 6-foot-7 freshman Brian Bowen was not named in federal documents, but details in the criminal complaint make it clear investigators were referring to Bowen. Postel also did not single out Postel, but said Wednesday that one student-athlete has been informed he will not practice or play for the university until the investigation is resolved.
When Padgett was asked about the investigation, he declined to comment. He did say Bowen is still enrolled at Louisville.
After Postel introduced Padgett, the interim president did not take any questions.
The 32-year-old Padgett seemed relaxed and appears ready to step in.
Padgett said he is taking the interim position for “the team,” but he is “not looking past the next six, eight months.”
He is coming off his first season as an assistant following two as Louisville’s director of basketball operations. A three-year starting forward with the Cardinals under Pitino, Padgett has worked extensively with frontcourt players.
“My focus right now is on these kids,” said Padgett, who added that he last talked with Pitino on Wednesday. “They’re here to play basketball.”
David Padgett addresses the media after being named Louisville’s interim men’s basketball coach Friday in Louisville, Ky.