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Tom Jurich blames KSR’s Matt Jones for his reputation as a bully

Tom Jurich blames KSR’s Matt Jones for his reputation as a bully

Tim Sullivan over at the Courier-Journal has a very lengthy look into the career of Tom Jurich at Louisville. “Tom Jurich’s Louisville legacy: bold businessman or bully? Depends on who you ask,” it’s called.

In it, Sullivan talks to several folks on each side of the bully/businessman argument. Our dear friend Zach McCrite is included and he leans bullying, telling the newspaper, “After talking to Tom personally in his office, I realized it wasn’t going to work out. He told me, ‘Anybody like you is never going to have a spot on my airwaves.'”

When asked about McCrite, Jurich said he remembered him but didn’t remember any meetings with him. Jurich then put the blame on KSR’s own Matt Jones for the “bully” narrative.

Jurich said he remembered McCrite but not meeting with him about “Steve Kragthorpe or airwaves or anything like that.” He said, “I’ve never asked anyone to bend for me,” and blames the lingering accusation of his “control” of Louisville media on Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones.

“If you say anything bad about Jurich, phone call,” Jones told his listeners after Jurich’s firing, according to a transcript posted by WHAS. “You could say anything about Rick (Pitino). You could say anything about Bobby (Petrino). But you could not say anything about Tom. That was the constant.

“When you look back and you sorta say, ‘How did this Louisville thing happen?’ In my opinion, it all comes down to the phone call. Everyone was scared.”

There’s plenty more to digest in Sullivan’s piece, including my favorite part of the story: that one former Jurich staff member hated him so much, she gave up hating him for Lent.

To one former U of L staff member, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, Jurich inspires so much animosity that for Lent she once gave up hating him.

Another tale says Jurich wanted to punch Tony Vanetti, another dear friend of KSR, in the face:

Multiple sources recall Jurich venting — and in the presence of media members — that he wanted to punch talk show host Tony Vanetti in the face hard enough to hear his bones break. Vanetti declined to comment.

“If I ever said that, I was joking,” Jurich said. “I like Tony Vanetti.”

Based on the people who spoke to Sullivan for the article, the verdict is pretty split on Jurich’s legacy at Louisville.

Give it a read and share your thoughts below.

[Courier-Journal]


Louisville fires Kenny Johnson, rules Brian Bowen ineligible

Louisville fires Kenny Johnson, rules Brian Bowen ineligible

And now, a University-6 news dump to start your holiday break: Louisville just announced assistant coach Kenny Johnson has been fired and freshman Brian Bowen has been ruled ineligible.

Once the associate head coach, Johnson was placed on paid leave in early October after an FBI investigation revealed that UofL coaches worked with adidas to funnel $100,000 to Bowen’s family in exchange for him coming to Louisville. Earlier this month, the FBI gave Louisville the go-ahead to investigate Bowen to reinstate him, but clearly, that was a fruitless quest. Bowen will never play for Louisville and will be allowed to transfer to the school of his choice.

Colleges when they hear from Bowen:


Rick Pitino moving on with life, but open to coaching again

Rick Pitino is making the most of his new life without basketball in Miami, but he will entertain the idea of a return to coaching, should an opportunity present itself.

In a conversation with ESPN, Pitino said he is moving on; however, if a team were to call him in April, he would “give it a shot”:

“If a school, come April, comes to me in Miami and says, ‘We believe you, we believe you were innocent,’ I would give it a shot,” Pitino said. “I don’t care about the money, the salary.

“But the way I’m looking at it now is that I’ve got to get on with a different part of my life — build a different life that doesn’t include coaching. I need to be happy, be content.”

Pitino said the difficult aspect of getting another opportunity in the college coaching ranks is that there isn’t a way for him to clear his name and became “fully exonerated.”

Pitino also told ESPN his two biggest regrets are hiring Andre McGee and Jordan Fair, as if he still wants us to believe those two are solely responsible for his collapse. I think we’re supposed to feel sorry for him or something like that.

Enjoy South Beach, Rick.


UofL has refunded over $400,000 to season-ticket holders

Following the firings of Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich, Louisville season-ticket holders are demanding their money back from the university.

According to the Courier-Journal, UofL has honored over 300 refunds worth $419,166 for those fed up with the school’s basketball program.

Athletic department spokesman Kenny Klein said Thursday that the university athletic department returned $239,566 in ticket revenue and $179,600 in additional donations required to purchase some tickets in premium locations to 126 individuals or businesses who controlled a total of 315 seats at the KFC Yum Center.

The school says they have had 78 season tickets re-sold since then, with other individual tickets on sale to the general public for the remainder of the season.

A former UofL Board of Trustees chairman said he agrees with UofL’s decision to refund tickets.

“I believe offering refunds for tickets and donation level is the honorable and right thing to do,” said Benz, a former chairman of U of L’s Board of Trustees.

I never thought I’d say this, but Louisville made a great decision by giving fans a way out following countless scandals under the previous administration.

That being said, are the fans leaving because they are upset at the school for getting rid of Pitino and Jurich? Or are they truly giving up on the entire basketball program?

Either way, the school made the right call on this one.


Federal indictment claims Rick Pitino directed payments to players

How will Rick lie his way out of this one?

Among the indictments handed down yesterday by a federal grand jury regarding the bribery scandal in college basketball is a passage that alleges Rick Pitino (aka Coach-2) not only knew about, but directed payments to players. From NBC News:

But, but, but, Rick Pitino passed a lie detector test, so surely he is innocent, right?!?

Can someone check on Dickie V to see how he is handling the news?


The FBI concludes investigation of Brian Bowen, Louisville fans think he’s in the clear. He’s not.

The FBI concludes investigation of Brian Bowen, Louisville fans think he’s in the clear. He’s not.

Yesterday afternoon, Brian Bowen’s lawer Jason Setchen told the Courier-Journal that the University of Louisville is “free to investigate and can consider reinstatement of Bowen” after federal authorities concluded their investigation. According to the report, the FBI cleared Bowen of “investigative impediments.”

“Brian and I are excited with this development and look forward to working with the university and the NCAA to clarify any concerns or issues that they have in furtherance of Brian’s prompt return to competition,” Setchen said following the news.

So that means Bowen is in the clear and will be suiting up for Louisville this season, right?

Ask some Louisville fans, and you’d think that’s the case.

Wrong.

That means Louisville jumped the gun on the firing of Tom Jurich and Rick Pitino, right?

Wrong.

The FBI is not the NCAA. Just because Bowen did not personally commit federal crimes does not mean he did not commit NCAA violations. It is not a federal crime to receive money for a commitment to play basketball at a certain school. It is, however, a federal crime to organize a bribery scheme involving multi-billion dollar apparel brands, the reason for the investigation in the first place. They are sitting in prison now as a result.

There’s a reason no arrests have been made at Louisville. That’s not what their involvement in the case was about. This was about tying loose ends with the guys higher up on the totem pole, not one kid receiving cash under the table.

The Cam Newton situation is giving Card Nation false hope. If you recall, Newton’s father asked schools for money, specifically Mississippi State, before ending up at Auburn. After losing out on his commitment, Mississippi State was the whistleblower for the NCAA, sparking a widely-publicized investigation. The NCAA eventually cleared Newton to play college football because he supposedly had no idea anything was going on and his father orchestrated the entire thing.

Bowen’s father received money for his son’s pledge to Louisville, similar to Newton, so Bowen will eventually be cleared by the NCAA, right?

Wrong.

Since then, the NCAA has changed this loophole, saying parents are now just as guilty of violations involving their child. If anyone in your immediate family takes money, the player will be found guilty by the NCAA and punished accordingly.

If you need a refresher, here’s the newest update to the rule: NCAA Broadens Agent Rules To Include Parents, Closes Cam Newton Loophole

Cancels that thought process out real quick.

Even with the closed loophole, the story still makes no sense whatsoever. Bowen had absolutely zero interest in Louisville, and the minute a dollar figure was arranged, he committed. You mean to tell me a five-star athlete had no say in where he ended up at school or how he got there? He had no idea whatsoever and his father made the commitment for him? Yeah, okay.

Regardless, the FBI simply said their investigation of Bowen is over, and the NCAA and Louisville may now conduct their own investigations on the issue without interfering with their own findings. As we were told back when the original indictments were released, the FBI could not care less about whether or not a teenager is eligible to play college basketball. They care about reaching justice for the orchestrators of this mess, and they have been releasing their findings as they see fit. Bowen’s case was just one of countless visited by the FBI, and this news means nothing for Louisville’s massive punishment that is waiting for them in the near future.

Brian Bowen will never play a minute at UofL, and it is highly unlikely he is cleared by the NCAA to play at any school. UofL will very likely miss this year’s NCAA Tournament, and quite possibly several to follow.

Don’t overthink this; it’s still as laughable and embarrassing as it was the moment news broke.

You can read the entire Courier-Journal article on the issue here.


PHOTOS: A lot of you made Rick Pitino Halloween costumes

PHOTOS: A lot of you made Rick Pitino Halloween costumes

As expected, Rick Pitino was a popular Halloween costume this year. Here’s a roundup of the best ones we’ve seen on social media:

Well done, guys.


Rick Pitino: UofL board “killed my dreams,” sabotaged NCAA appeal

Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

Just when you thought Rick Pitino couldn’t sound more unhinged, here came today’s interview on the Terry Meiners Show.

During the 30-minute interview, Pitino rambled about how Tom Jurich is the greatest thing since sliced bread and how the UofL board — NOT Greg Postel, whom he claims to have never met — sabotaged the university by firing him in “a witch hunt of epic proportions.” Pitino claims that the board, specifically chairman David Grissom (whom he says is NOT a UofL fan, but instead a Centre College booster), “sabotaged” the university’s NCAA appeal by firing Jurich.

“This is a blueprint of how not to deal with the NCAA and the community in what you’re doing with an extremely popular athletic director who’s done so much,” Pitino said. “The people behind this aren’t Louisville fans.”

Pitino once again, despite scandal after scandal, insisted that UofL has a “highly compliant” athletic department, but it’s all for naught now that the board removed Jurich.

“It hurts us going forward with our appeal. I guess I should stop saying us,” he added, one of many times during the interview he used that line.

Pitino recalled a meeting with the board about a month ago, and how shocked he was by the chilly reception he received.

“They were totally against me. I felt it,” Pitino said of the board. “They rushed to judgment. They killed my dreams. They killed some of the players’ dreams, who wanted to play for me. They killed one of the top recruiting classes in this history of my tenure without any facts of what was going on.”

Listen to the entire interview:


Pitino says he will never step foot in Kentucky again

Once Tom Jurich’s termination letter hit the internet Tuesday afternoon and began to soak in the tears of Jurich truthers, I did what everyone should do in a time like that and tuned in to Louisville sports radio.

And if you’re going to tune in to Louisville sports radio to listen to how they spin the never-ending UofL saga, you have to listen to Ramsey and Rutherford — which is, undoubtedly, the funniest show going right now.

Tuesday’s Ramsey and Rutherford was a laugh riot, as was the only other time I listened to it, after Jurich’s firing. But in the midst of Ramsey babbling on and me wondering how in the world Rutherford can sit with him for three hours each day, I heard an interesting little tidbit that I don’t believe has been said anywhere: Rick Pitino will never return to the state of Kentucky.

“I actually had this conversation with Coach Pitino,” Ramsey told his listeners, when asked if Pitino will ever be back in the Bluegrass. “He says he will never step foot back in the state of Kentucky. He’s feeling pretty bitter right now and that might change, and I want to not believe that, but he sounded pretty determined and staunch on his stance.”

Hear the clip below:

Listen to the entire show here.

If this is true and Rick Pitino never returns to the state where he coached college basketball for 25 years of his life, Italian restaurants will finally be family-friendly again.


More potential for Louisville fireworks today

Does a day go by without drama from the University of Louisville? We’ll get two more opportunities for fireworks this afternoon, with Tom Jurich’s attorneys addressing the media at 3:30 p.m. and Rick Pitino going on Terry Meiners’ show at 5:35 p.m. After the scathing termination letter from Greg Postel to Tom Jurich went public yesterday, get your popcorn ready.

Meanwhile, Louisville players Anas Mahmoud and Quentin Snider are up at ACC Media Day, and Mahmoud told reporters practice has been more enjoyable since Pitino left:

“It’s not relief, but Coach P had a really strong personality over everyone,” Mahmoud said. “Not just players, but also coaches and even the university itself. Playing for him was really nice in games, but practice was not fun.”

Never a dull moment.


Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari opens up about Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

After a failed attempt at UK Basketball Media Day, KSR was finally able to obtain a comment from John Calipari regarding the current state of the University of Louisville and whether or not Calipari will miss coaching against Rick Pitino.

When asked the Pitino question once again during a guest appearance on Tuesday’s show, Calipari said, “Well they were always good games. I coached against him at UMass, I coached against him in the NBA, I coached against him at Memphis; and every one of the games, you knew we were going at each other.”

Cal then opened up about Pitino’s firing and what it means for U of L:

“All the Louisville fans, this is a sad deal for the guys and Tom and Rick — I hate that it’s happened this way — but for the fans there, Louisville goes way back. Whether it be in football, in basketball — what Denny Crum did there — you think about it. And even before Denny Crum — how about Schnellenberger, what he did? How about a field goal by Louisville against Rutgers or maybe they’re winning the national title, the last time. Now you’re in the ACC. Now your facilities are second to none. They’re going to be fine.

He added that, though the rivalry is fun, the entire state of Kentucky needs Louisville to succeed:

“I hate it for the people, but let me tell you: it’s important that Louisville — the school and the athletics department — does well because we all in this state need the city of Louisville to do well. For this state to make it, Louisville has to be strong as a city. Now anytime we play Louisville, I want us to beat their brains in. But I also recognize that the bigger picture is, for this state to make it and to do well, the city of Louisville has to do well, which means the University of Louisville has to do well. And the growth of that city, you can tie it right to the university. So, I just say that, it’s unfortunate what happened. The short-term stuff looks bleak, but I don’t believe that’s even bleak and I think they’ll be fine.”

It’s interesting to hear Cal say the things Louisville fans should be saying: everything will be okay and Louisville is much bigger than Jurich or Pitino.

Hear it all for yourself, including a little dig at Jerry Tipton:


Bowen working out with former UK star since leaving Louisville team

Bowen working out with former UK star since leaving Louisville team

As it stands now, Brian Bowen will not be playing college basketball this season. The five-star prospect was all set to be a key piece of the Louisville Cardinals, until the FBI found some funny business in his recruitment ($100,000 worth of funny business). He has since been suspended from team activities, although he remains a full-time student in hopes he is reinstated.

Bowen still needs to play high-level basketball, though; so what has he done to keep his game on track for the NBA draft next summer? According to the Courier-Journal, Bowen hired former Kentucky star Derek Anderson as a trainer.

“I told him when he came in here, the mental preparation is what separates you,” Anderson said Monday afternoon. “People want to see if you can handle situations, the game, the pressure. When you come into a game, you have to block out family, friends, everything.”

Anderson began working with Bowen last Thursday at the Harrods Creek Baptist Church in Prospect. Among those in attendance was former Louisville star Jerry Eaves, the head basketball coach at Simmons College. [Courier-Journal]

The C-J’s story also notes that Bowen still lives in Minardi Hall and has access to the basketball practice facility.

Now here’s a video of Derek Anderson dunking on Louisville:


Louisville to add former Duke Blue Devil to coaching staff

David Padgett has found another assistant to join his staff at Louisville and it’s a former Duke Blue Devil.

According to several reports on the internet, Greg Paulus will soon become the second assistant beneath Padgett, along with Trent Johnson. The addition of Paulus will be announced in a press conference later this afternoon.

Paulus was most recently an assistant at Ohio State, up until Thad Matta’s firing this past summer. He also spent time as a quarterback at Syracuse after his basketball playing career at Duke ended in 2009.


Five Thoughts About Rick Pitino’s ESPN Interview

Five Thoughts About Rick Pitino’s ESPN Interview

Rick Pitino can’t shut up, so let’s reflect on his latest PR blunder — an interview with Jay Bilas on last night’s midnight edition of SportsCenter.

 

1. He does not look good.

In fact, he gave me nightmares.

2. He is really hard to believe.

I don’t believe a word he says because he is an arrogant, self-centered, habitual liar who will do anything to cover his own tail.

So take it from Mike Decourcy, who wrote, “Rick Pitino would be easier to believe if he were more believable.”

3. Jay Bilas did not challenge him.

If you’re going to do that interview, you have to ask how/why Louisville has had three of college basketball’s biggest scandals in less than a decade. Or ask: If you’re truly in the dark, why are you so bad at knowing what’s going on within your program? Why do you suck at hiring assistants? Do you even work there?

4. “I passed a lie detector test” is not an answer.

Nobody cares about, or believes, your home lie detector test. Hell, you probably believe your own B.S. because you’re a crazy person.

Also, that’s not why you were fired.

Also also, you’re lying.

5. I laughed when he said his legacy is not important.

“Humility is the most important word in the dictionary, ” he said (seriously). “My legacy is really irrelevant. It’s not that important.”

Can we get a lie detector on that one please? Hook the narcissist back up to the truth machine and watch it burst into flames.


He Gone: Tom Jurich fired by Louisville

Tom Jurich has been fired.

The UofL board of trustees deliberated for several hours Wednesday afternoon before coming to a 10-3 vote to permanently remove him as the university’s athletics director. The firing came three days shy of the 20th anniversary of his hiring; thus ending a long, scandalous era of UofL athletics.

Vince Tyra, a UK grad and former Wildcat baseball player, is the new AD in the Ville.

Sports radio will be electric in the coming days.