Pitino, lawyers defend Jruich after letter released by UofL interim president

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A two-page letter released by the University of Louisville interim president includes strong allegations that Jurich intimidated and bullied "student government to the University's senior leadership” and he caused substantial damage to the athletic department and the university.

“The gratuitous allegation that Tom is a bully is simply over the top and not true,” Sheryl Snyder, Jurich’s lawyer, said.

Now, his legal team says he is not going down without a fight and it isn’t all about money.

“For Tom, it is a matter of conscious. In terms of honoring contractual commitments that were made to keep him here continuing to do the great job that he did for this university so in that sense it's not just about money.  It's about what people promised you in good faith,” Snyder said.

Jurich's legal team said they hope to settle without filing a breach of contract lawsuit. But because of this letter, they say they're considering other types of legal action including a defamation lawsuit. 

Former Coach Rick Pitino, a longtime colleague and friend, said the letter hurts not only Jurich but the pending NCAA investigation.

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“It truly breaks my heart what they did with that letter to Tom yesterday,” Pitino said.

A day after the University of Louisville released the letter, Rick Pitino did his first local interview with our Terry Meiners during his radio show on WHAS840.

“Quite frankly the people behind this aren't Louisville fans, don't have the passion that Tom, myself, and the player have for the University of Louisville and the coaches who are in total support of Tom Jurich,” Pitino said.

Jurich, the loyal boss who was forced out, and Pitino, the employee who Jurich backed with second chances, are both fighting the university that brought them fame and fortune.

“It turns my stomach to see something like that written about him and it hurts us going forward with our appeal,” Pitino said.