Louisville won't retain interim head coach David Padgett

The Dagger
Louisville head coach David Padgett watches his team play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Louisville head coach David Padgett watches his team play during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Virginia in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

David Padgett’s interim reign as head coach of the Louisville Cardinals came to an end Wednesday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Louisville has opted not to retain Padgett past this season.

This development wasn’t surprising for Padgett, who was a Louisville assistant for three years before assuming the head coaching position after the FBI’s pay-for-play investigation ensnared Rick Pitino. The Cardinals began the season as a top 25 team, but in October, Pitino was fired, five-star freshman Brian Bowen was suspended in connection to the FBI investigation and they finished the season 22-14, on the outside looking in at The Big Dance.

“I don’t live in a bubble,” Padgett said at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. “I know the chatter about what was going on. It wasn’t a surprise. … You know it’s coming. Until you actually hear it, it’s hard to set in. I’m going to walk out of this room and hold my head high because I gave this program and these players everything I had.”

Despite coaching admirably through the chaos, Louisville missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006, excluding their self-imposed ban from the 2015 tournament, doomed Padgett, who was already coaching on a one-year contract. Instead it ended ignominiously in the NIT quarterfinals.

Padgett, 33, will pursue head coaching opportunities elsewhere. However, this situation was undoubtedly difficult for a first-time head coach. Fortunately, the experience should serve him well in the future. Last month, the NCAA vacated Louisville’s records between 2011-12 and 2014-15, which included the 2013 national championship and two Final Four appearances.

Reportedly, Xavier’s Chris Mack, who is still coaching the Musketeers in the Sweet 16, is considered the front-runner. Conversely, Louisville’s interim athletic director Vince Tyra is expected to be retained in the position full-time.
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DJ Dunson is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at dunsnchecksin@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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