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Interim U of L Coach David Padgett: Taking It 'One Day At A Time'

U of L men's basketball team practice under interim coach David Padgett.
U of L men's basketball team practice under interim coach David Padgett.

The University of Louisville’s newly appointed men’s basketball coach and athletic director say they’re trying to help restore a sense of normalcy to the school after the tumultuous events of the past week.

The university is taking action after acknowledging its involvement in a federal bribery investigation involving men’s basketball recruits.

Both men spoke Wednesday during a news conference about the challenges ahead.

Interim Coach David Padgett ran his players through practice drills as the team prepares for its first public scrimmage next week. He said he's trying to take things day by day.

“Everybody I’ve talked to on the phone, they say, ‘how’s it going, how’s it going?’ he said. "I say, I’m literally trying to take this one day at a time, one hour at a time. I’m not trying to think about the future, I’m trying to think about what am I going to do today in practice to make us better? And that’s been my mindset."

Padgett said players have responded well to his leadership since he took over for suspended coach Rick Pitino.

“If I had to say what kind of coach I am, I’m a players’ coach," said Padgett. "Because I was a player. I played in this program, I played for this university. I think they have a lot of respect for me because they know that I can relate to what they’re going through from a basketball standpoint.”

Acting Athletic Director Vince Tyra said he spent his first hours on the job meeting with coaches and athletic department staff. He was appointed Tuesday to take over the duties of Tom Jurich, who is on paid administrative leave.

Tyra said emotions are still running high, more than a week after news of the investigation.

“For now, we have to quarantine those emotions — I have them myself — and focus on the task at hand and what needs to get done," he said. "So we’re trying to highlight as I’m getting in here quickly, to what are the most pressing topics.”

Tyra is on the road with the Cardinals football team, which plays Thursday night at North Carolina State.

He said he’s still addressing the status of two assistant basketball coaches who could be connected with the federal probe, but have not been publicly identified by the FBI.

Rick Howlett was midday host and the host of LPM's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." He was with LPM from 2001-2023 and held many different titles, including Morning Edition host, Assignment Editor and Interim News Director. He died in August 2023. Read a remembrance of Rick here.