Support growing for Tom Jurich to become Bulls’ next AD

It's believed the school will announce a new athletic director before July 4.
Former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich addresses reporters during a past news conference. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich addresses reporters during a past news conference. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Published June 22, 2018|Updated June 22, 2018

This dispatch comes at you from a remote south Georgia lake shore, where the waters remain far more pristine than the waves being made in USF athletics circles.

Which is to say, a number of prominent folks are clamoring for Tom Jurich to become the Bulls' next athletic director.

Several sources have indicated in recent days that the groundswell of support for Jurich, the longtime Louisville athletic director dismissed last fall, is growing. Among those backing Jurich are major boosters and even some current USF coaches, those sources insist.

Iconic ESPN voice Dick Vitale has voiced his support for Jurich — who hired current Bulls football coach Charlie Strong at Louisville in December 2009 — since the job became vacant earlier this month.

Jurich, who has a condo in Clearwater, neither fueled nor extinguished the speculation connecting him to USF during a recent sit-down with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

"I'm not talking to anybody," he said. "We really haven't made our next plans."

Just how seriously he would be considered by USF's president, Dr. Judy Genshaft, is unknown. To this point, USF's athletic director search committee has met only once, at which time no candidate was mentioned by name. However, it's widely believed the school wants to announce a new AD before July 4.

RELATED: USF search committee chair: prior athletic director experience preferred, not required

And of all the names tossed around to this point, Jurich's would seem to be the most qualified.

And most controversial.

During his 20 years at UL, the Cardinals transitioned from Conference USA to the Big East to the American Athletic Conference to the ACC — a collegiate altitude climb that prompts salivating among USF's fan base.

Additionally, he helped the school land Strong, Rick Pitino (who led Louisville to the 2013 men's hoops national title), Bobby Petrino and a 16-year, $160 million apparel contract extension with Adidas.

But a sequence of scandals involving Pitino and the men's basketball program (forced to vacate its national title) did him in. Last October, in the wake of the FBI's probe into college hoops (which included the Cardinals), Louisville's board of trustees voted 10-3 in favor of dismissing Jurich.

Several months after that vote, the school reached a settlement with Jurich, who receives upwards of $7 million and a 20-year guarantee of eight club-level tickets for Cardinals football and men's basketball games.

Terms of the settlement also called for an amendment to his personnel file, indicating that his employment ended "without cause." That stipulation, along with the monetary part, appears to have absolved him in the eyes of some, who would argue Louisville wouldn't dole out that kind of money to a guilty party.

But again, no one seems to know how much traction Jurich's name has with USF's highest levels of leadership, which undoubtedly has heard the clamor.

Stay tuned.