Jurich officially out as UofL athletic director

UofL Board votes to fire Tom Jurich
Published: Oct. 18, 2017 at 1:58 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2017 at 10:38 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Board of Trustees made it official Wednesday, Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich was fired from the University of Louisville.

After a closed-door session, the board voted 10 to 3 to fire him with cause.

Brian Cromer, Dr. Ronald Wright and Diane Medley were the three no votes.

"It's kind of unbelievable to me that the university has been transformed in that manner," Cromer said of Jurich's accomplishments.

"Tom Jurich is owed some thanks for those things that he's done," Wright said.

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Under Jurich's leadership the past 20 years, UofL's athletics have seen a complete transformation.

As athletic director, Jurich was the architect of UofL's moves to the Big East Conference, the American Athletic Conference and then to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

He also saw several capital improvements and facility developments, like the KFC Yum! Center,  Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Soccer Stadium and the multi-million dollar renovation to Jim Patterson Stadium, just to name a few.

Dr. Greg Postel read a short statement after the vote but would not take any questions about the termination, citing that it was a legal issue.

"This is our opportunity to demonstrate the unity and integrity that define being a Louisville Cardinal," Postel said.

Trustees voting in favor of the termination would not talk about their votes.

Acting AD Vince Tyra was in the room for the vote, but doesn't have a vote on the board.

"Everybody has to quarantine their emotions. We have a bigger deal here. The university is a big deal. The athletic department is a big deal," Tyra said after the vote.

Tyra called Jurich a friend and said he understands how some fans may feel about the board's decision.

"There's going to be negative comments and there's going to be division but my role is to unify this as best as I can," Tyra said. "Tom's been incredibly opportunistic to move us forward in a lot of these ways."

One of the crown jewels of Jurich's time at UofL was the 2012-2013 "Year of the Cardinal." On his watch, UofL became the first school to go to the College World Series, win a bowl game and have both its men's and women's basketball programs make the Final Four.

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He was inducted into the state's Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jurich's current contract was set to go until the year 2023.

Attorneys for Jurich did not respond to questions after the meeting but they did release a statement:

"We are disheartened by the actions taken by the University of Louisville Board of Trustees this afternoon against Athletic Director Tom Jurich. We believe that their vote to terminate his contract was done in haste with inaccurate information that should have had no bearing on continuing his employment. Tom Jurich maintained a professional athletic department that was the envy of universities across the country. He has done nothing illegal, nor violated any NCAA rules. Tom has been a great steward for the University of Louisville Athletics brand.

"Tom Jurich has always placed the care and well being of the student athletes first. Tom continually demanded that his coaches follow the rules of the NCAA and the institution and never once waivered [sic] in support of those who did. The Jurich family would like to thank the senior staff, coaching and department staff, student athletes, colleagues at UofL, donors, fans and everyone who live and reside in the city of Louisville for the opportunities and support they've provided throughout the years.

"With that said, Tom has instructed us to vigorously defend his rights and reputation under his long-standing contract with the University of Louisville."

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