LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- After four days of scandal and heartbreak, Louisville is now leaning on David Padgett to lead the Cardinals.
“I don't know if anything can help you get through what we've gone through this week because it's never really even happened before, but they're just a resilient group, like I said, when I walked in during a workout that were enthusiastic and spirited and excited and it got me excited,” said David Padgett moments after he was announced the acting Head Coach for the Louisville Men’s Basketball program.
Padgett served as the assistant coach under Rick Pitino. The team captains said they are pleased there's a familiar face taking over the team, admitting they asked Kenny Klein with the Athletic Department to consider him.
“He played for coach P and he knew the system, and he always wanted to pass that story down to me, and I wouldn't be where I am right now without D.P.,” said starting center, Anas Mahmoud.
Quentin Snider, a Louisville native, said he is staying focused on the positive.
“For now, I'm good. I think the city is happy having somebody we were comfortable with as a coach.”
The team isn't only down a coach. They're down a player after losing Brian Bowen, the recruit whose family the FBI alleges was paid for him to commit to Louisville.
“I mean it's a talented player that we'll have to learn how to deal without,” said Padgett.
It started on Tuesday. The FBI accused two UofL coaches of negotiating with Adidas to pay Bowen $100,000 to attend the school. The next day, Coach Pitino was ‘effectively fired,’ according to his lawyer and Athletic Director, Tom Jurich, was also put on administrative leave.
The devastation piled on when reports came out naming Pitino as one of the coaches involved in the bribery. Pitino released a statement seconds before Padgett was named head coach, still denying that he had any knowledge of payments to any recruit or their family.
“We're trying to keep the reputation of this program intact as much as we can. We've been in a bad spotlight here for a while now and I want to do everything I can to get us out of that spotlight,” said Padgett.
WHAS11 News asked Padgett if he could assure that his name would not come up as the investigation moves forward.
“I can assure that for myself,” he answered. “I can't get into too much detail about the investigation, it's a federal investigation, it's on-going. I don't think Dr. Postal would have the confidence to put me in this position if he was worried about anything.”
Padgett said it’s too early to talk about this being a more permanent decision. UofL is expected to announce the Jurich’s replacement as Athletic Director next week.
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