LOUISVILLE, Ky (WHAS11) -- In the story that is the University of Louisville and the FBI investigation, pages are turning and chapters are ending. This week alone, two key characters met their end: Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich were fired just two days apart. Interim men's basketball coach David Padgett now has the pen to write what happens in the program now, while being mindful of where it's been.
"I've always had a great relationship with Tom, there's no denying the accomplishments he had here," Padgett told reporters in his first news conference since the firings of his former coach and athletics director.
One of many Jurich accomplishments is Papa John's Cardinals Stadium, home to the school's football team.
Upset over the Tom Jurich firing, some players used social media to bash the Papa John's brand.
"Dominos, anyone" receiver Jaylen Smith asked in a tweet. He and others used the platform to voice their anger the company's founder John Schnatter was one of 10 trustees who, on Wednesday, voted to terminate Jurich.
Those tweets were deleted after being published by WHAS 11 News media partner The Courier-Journal. The article was followed by a conversation between Interim Athletics Director Vince Tyra and football coach Bobby Petrino.
"The kids don't mean any disrespect, they're being silly," Tyra said, "I think they respect that John Schnatter has been terrific to this program.
It is a program that's been an enormous part of Pitino's success. The thought of moving on and leaving his family on the court nearly brought him to tears in an interview with ESPN's Jay Bilas, which was his first TV interview since being let go.
"I said, 'Guys, David Padgett is one of you, played for me, is like a son to me, like you are, give him everything you've got,'" Pitino said, "'Give it to him. Win it all but I'm not going to be in contact with you, it's his team now.'"
Padgett, who still refers to Pitino as 'Coach', told reporters he did not watch the interview, standing firm in his mission to leave past chapters closed.
"Our focus right now is on this team I'm not, nor is anybody else in our program going to consume themselves with what Coach Pitino has going on, because that's not fair to Coach, not fair to our staff and certainly not fair to our players."
i-Team Investigator Derrick Rose can be reached at 502-582-7232 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @WHAS11DRose
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