Friday, August 09, 2002

New contract will keep Jurich at U of L through 2016

AP Sports Writer

        LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tom Jurich will remain the University of Louisville athletics director until he retires.

        The 46-year-old Jurich signed a four-year contract extension Thursday that will keep him at the school through 2016.

        “It's a lifetime contract,” Jurich said after a 30-minute meeting of the school's Athletics Association board of directors.

        Jurich was hired in October 1997 and signed a 13-year contract in March 1999. He's made sweeping changes, none bigger than hiring Rick Pitino in March 2001 to revitalize the sagging basketball program.

        Still, many speculated Jurich would follow former University of Louisville president and close friend John Shumaker to the University of Tennessee, a Southeastern Conference football power that draws millions each year from television deals. Shumaker, who hired Jurich, was named Tennessee's president in March.

        Jurich said he was never going anywhere.

        “This is the best job in the country for Tom Jurich,” said Jurich, whose two sons, Mark and Brian, attend U of L. “You get feelers all the time, but this is just the place where I want to settle down. I don't want to be a jumper.

        “I don't think there's a bigger or better place than Louisville.”

        The new contract keeps Jurich's base salary at $226,018. It also keeps a list of incentives, including a $15,000 bonus for any bowl appearances by the football team and a $36,000 bonus for any year the six-year graduation rate among student-athletes is higher than 50 percent.

        It adds a clause that states the association will fund an annuity Jurich can collect if he stays until 2005. He'll receive similar bonuses if he stays through 2009, 2012 and 2015.

        The board approved the incentive structure in January and recommended that Shumaker begin negotiating an extension for Jurich.

        “Tom is a highly competent, energetic leader,” said former U of L basketball star Junior Bridgeman, now a member of the school's board of trustees. “It was in our best interest to lock up his talent for as long as possible.”

        In addition to his aggressive pursuit of Pitino, Jurich also hired John L. Smith, who's turned the Cardinals into a perennial winner. Jurich has also overseen a boost in the academic standing of Louisville's athletes and brought the school into Title IX compliance.

        The moves have come at a price — the school had a $3.2 million deficit in 2000-01 and Jurich expects a deficit of about $1 million this year. The debt stems primarily from the construction of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and Cardinal Park, a collection of facilities that was a key to the school achieving gender equity.

        “We took on a lot of debt, but it was 'cautious debt.' We knew what we were doing. Like any investment, it takes a while to pay off,” Jurich said. “We've got enormous facilities, but you need facilities to attract great student-athletes. We've got to pay for those, but we have a great plan in place.

        “My goal is making Louisville the very best in every sport,” he said. “We're building this into a program that's going to be nationally acclaimed. I love playing things out the right way. That's what we're doing.”


Sports Stories
Masters in demand, ATP chief says
Where are you going? Roddick: Final 8
Hardcourt's best players ready for faceoff
'Mosquito' Ferrero stings Dent in 3 sets
Moya making most of comeback
Schuettler makes fans sit up, pay attention
Tennis Channel to test fans' interest
Delay aside, Switzer happy to enter Hall
Klecko following in father's footsteps
Miami hungers for 2nd No. 1
New Mexico State football player in critical condition
Two-year Purdue starting RB has no lock on spot
Lineup, new format announced for Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
- New contract will keep Jurich at U of L through 2016
Back on track, in car and in life
Gordon eyes road course as chance for first win
Prince Andrew to visit U.S. Grand Prix in Indy
Hand surgeon fined, suspended for giving horse Prozac
Third horse dies in Kentucky from West Nile
Tiger 2 strokes back at Buick
Harding sentenced to 10 days in jail
Last chance for UC-OSU tickets

Kitna relaxed, confident for first start
Bengals, Simmons near common ground
Justin Smith working to improve upon impressive rookie season
Bills' backup tight end battling for roster spot
Bills' revamped O-line faces first test
Browns ban sales of plastic bottles of beer
Jets 16, Steelers 6
Titans beginning to make tough decisions
It's a hazing day of summer for rookie
NFL preseason gets into full swing
Rockies 10, Reds 3
'Defining moment' ahead for Reds
Reds-Padres series preview
Reds box, runs
Reds notebook
Casey homers for Louisville
Seattle beats Reds to Offerman
Head spinning, Rockies' Hurdle eager for challenges
Owners have no sticks left, just carrots
Players, owners agree to minimum salary, benefits plan
Padres 7, Phillies 4
NL roundup
AL roundup
Notes from Thursday's games
Xavier completes women's basketball staff
Poll puts St. Xavier on top again