It’s simple really. Do you trust Tom Jurich, or don’t you?
Tom’s decision yesterday shocked a lot of people, who assumed he would take the easy way out and give Coach Hurtt the axe. He certainly could have. Tom isn’t about easy, he is more complex than that. Instead he took time to get to know Coach Hurtt over his 4 years at Louisville, and let that guide his decision. Coach Hurtt admitted to committing recruiting violations at Miami, a place so riddled with violations there is an ESPN 30 for 30 about it. Coach Hurtt played at Miami, and enjoyed some of those impermissible benefits as a player likely as well. It was the culture down at the U.
What changed? The school.
Louisville came calling, and it was Coach Strong on the line. Coach Strong was clear on his message – we are going to build the program the right way. When he met Tom Jurich, he heard the same message – we are going to build this program the right way. Guess what Coach Hurtt did? He did what his employers asked. This isn’t Miami. No wink, wink, nudge, nudge around these parts. He utilized all the contacts he had to help recruit the South Florida neighborhoods, and cut out all the games.
Tom took notice. This was a guy who represented the program well both on and off the field. When the NCAA wrapped up it findings and released them – findings of scandal at Miami 6 years ago, Tom had a decision to make. The easy one is to fire him. He would lose his job, and nobody would hire him. That didn’t sit well with Tom. This was a person he now believed in. This was a person who was following the culture at Miami, but when presented with a new culture at Louisville – followed the new culture.
This is loyalty hard work, and loyalty perpetuates respect. That respect will keep Coach Hurtt on the right path, and in doing so – keeps Louisville Football on the right pat as well. Tom doesn’t make quick decisions, and he isn’t afraid of making tough decisions. This is why Louisville has the best AD in the nation. He does what he feels is right.
Tom made his decision, and the NCAA agreed with the schools penalties passed down to Coach Hurtt. It is a decision that I will stand by, because Tom has built trust with me as a fan for 15+ years. That means something to me.
To me this decision is now more about Tom, and less about Coach Hurtt. Tom did the homework, made the decision, and will take all comers in the media. He has access to information we don’t. He has made dozens of calls. He understands the rule better than we do (I assumed he had to fire Hurtt, didn’t know there were options). Therefore, you have to ask your self; when he is armed with that much information do you trust Tom to make the right call? Not saying people can’t make mistakes, this whole thing is about Coach Hurtt’s mistakes, but in your heart do you fundamentally believe that Tom makes good decisions?
Anyone can lead on a sunny day – take the paycheck and go home.
Tom is a guy who can lead during stormy ones, and those are the real leaders.
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