The University of Louisville could have a tough time justifying its firing of athletic director Tom Jurich in light of glowing reviews that highlight his tenure at the school.
Elaine Wise, chairperson for Louisville’s Division of Humanities, is also the university’s faculty athletics representative, and in that capacity wrote Jurich's annual reviews.
Those reviews, obtained by the Courier Journal, were glowing.
“Tom is an articulate, generous and creative manager of people and resources, whose experience, character, and vision inspire everyone who works for him and with him,” Wise wrote in a review from May 25, 2017. “His commitment to academic excellence and dedication to gender equity in the context of rules compliance and athletic prominence are awe inspiring.”
In 2013, Wise wrote that Jurich was, “the most versatile, visionary, and values-driven athletics director in the country.” And in 2011, she wrote that he was, “the most respected and gifted athletics director in our Conference, and in college athletics.”
The reviews present a challenge for Louisville as it is faced with the task of justifying Jurich’s removal. If the school fails to do so, it will have to pay out Jurich’s contract through 2026.
None of the nine reviews obtained by the Courier mention anything about issues identified by Louisville president Greg Postel in a termination letter addressed to Jurich. In that letter, Postel accused Jurich of “willful misconduct…ineffective management, divisive leadership, unprofessional conduct, and a lack of collegiality best characterized as intimidation and bullying that extends from student government to the University's senior leadership.”
Jurich said in an October interview that he was deserving of the $2.76 million salary he was earning before he was fired, going so far as to say that he “always tried to be a bargain for the university.”