Louisville will not retain David Padgett as its head coach after he served as interim coach since Rick Pitino was fired.
“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.”
Padgett took over on an interim basis after Louisville fired Pitino following the FBI investigation into college basketball. Allegations against Louisville included payments of $100,000 to the family of Brian Bowen to sign with the Cardinals. Bowen was suspended by the university before leaving and transferring to South Carolina.
“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” interim athletic director Vince Tyra said in a release. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”
Xavier’s Chris Mack is the frontrunner to land the permanent job at Louisville, sources told ESPN.
Padgett had been on Pitino’s staff for three seasons before being promoted to interim head coach. He also played under Pitino at Louisville from 2005-08.
He led Louisville (22-14, 9-9 in the ACC) to the brink of the NCAA tournament, but the Cardinals were left out on Selection Sunday. They finished their season in the NIT quarterfinals.
“Crazy progression, but a fun one when you have a chance to coach great kids,” Padgett told ESPN shortly before the news conference.
Padgett, 33, has been mentioned with head coaching vacancies at Missouri State, Eastern Kentucky, Little Rock and Utah State.
“I gotta focus on what’s next for me,” Padgett said. “Right now I don’t have an answer for that.”