The north end of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is begin closed in and additional seating added. Athletic Director Tom Jurich and his son, Mark, Associate Athletic Director for Development, give an update to the progress.
By Michael Clevenger, The C-J
The University of Louisville fired three high-ranking athletics department employees in a “restructuring” move Friday.
The three former employees are senior associate athletic director of development Mark Jurich, associate athletic director of marketing Julianne Waldron and associate athletic director of human resources Kim Maffet.
“Each of the departing staff members have made productive contributions to this university and we wish them the best in their future ventures,” interim athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “As we move forward, we will be restructuring leadership positions within our department and creating efficiencies among our senior staff.”
A tweet posted from Jurich’s account Friday afternoon indicated Jurich as “asked to the leave.”
“It is with great sadness that I let you know I was asked to leave UofL today,” the tweet read. “I want to thank the thousands of friends I have made as a student-athlete, administrator and fan. While the past 3 months have been difficult, nothing will change my love for this amazing University.”
Reached Friday, Waldron declined comment.
Jurich, the son of former athletic director Tom Jurich, was in charge of the Cardinal Athletic Fund, the fundraising wing of the athletics department. He remained on Louisville’s staff after his father’s dismissal in October.
In his role, the younger Jurich was the leader of several money-raising efforts for major athletics projects, including soccer-specific Lynn Stadium, the expansions of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and Jim Patterson Stadium, and the recently finished Thorntons Academic Center of Excellence. He was also responsible for selling football suite packages.
Mark Jurich secured $33.05 million of the $63.25 million for the football stadium’s north end expansion and was responsible for approximately $30 million in contributions for premium seating since 2010, according to a summary provided to Courier Journal by the athletics department in response to a recent open records request.
More than $84 million in funds have been attributed to Mark Jurich since 2008, according to the document, which shows the athletics department accounted for an additional $181.6 million to Cardinal Athletic Fund staff working under him.
“Mark is very talented,” Tyra said in a statement, “and we sincerely appreciate the strong effort and performance that he has contributed to Cardinal athletics from his time as a student-athlete through the valuable work he has accomplished as a member of our administrative staff.”
Mark Jurich’s dismissal came several days after a private investigator approached a Courier Journal reporter seeking potentially damaging information about his father.
The investigator, working for Kentucky Special Investigative Unit, a private detective agency based on Louisville, was operating on behalf of Stoll Keenen Ogden, a law firm representing the university in the ongoing dispute with Tom Jurich, who was fired “with cause” on Oct. 18.
The university on Thursday removed the law firm from its cases involving Tom Jurich and former men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, who has filed a lawsuit against the school. Interim university President Greg Postel denied the move was because of the uproar surrounding the discovery of the private investigator.
“You can’t connect the dots that way,” Postel said Thursday.
But publicist Bob Gunnell, whose company, BoxCar PR, represents the elder Jurich, said Friday’s restructuring moves were motivated by revenge.
“In light of recent events, this is retaliation against Tom Jurich,” Gunnell said in a statement. “It is very unfortunate for these individuals who exceeded expectations for the fans, players and coaches at the University of Louisville.”
Mark Jurich, who played baseball for the Louisville Cardinals and reached the Triple-A level of the minor leagues, was hired full-time by the university in 2008 as assistant director of development. He’d previously spent four years as an intern and temporary employee at the school.
In April 2010, he was promoted to assistant athletics director for development and a year later was given the title of associate athletic director.
He assumed his most recent title of senior associate athletic director for development in July 2013. Documents obtained through an open records request indicate his salary was $154,860 plus $500 per month in car allowance.
Mark Jurich was hired as an athletics employee, but in 2010, athletics and the University of Louisville Foundation began sharing his salary to varying degrees. Records show the foundation took over his salary in 2013 until June 2017, when it was moved back to athletics.
The most recent contract in his personnel file, which ran from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, stipulated he report to Kathleen Smith, the chief of staff to James Ramsey, who was then the university president as well as the chairman of the University of Louisville Athletic Association and president of the University of Louisville Foundation.
Both Maffet and Waldron were holdovers from the Tom Jurich athletics department.
Maffet led the hiring process and managed personnel issues, according to her biography on the athletic department website. Before moving to athletics in 2009, she worked in the university president’s office as an interim vice president for human resources and special assistant to the president and provost.
Maffett was paid $180,200 annually, according to an athletics spokesman, and received $500 per month in car allowance.
Waldron has led marketing for the athletics department since 2014. She previously worked in marketing for the university for five years. She was paid $151,368 annually and received $500 per month in car allowance.
Waldron was also closely intertwined with a multimillion-dollar Adidas sponsorship deal that included academic, professional and creative opportunities for students.
A Louisville spokesman said Friday that the personnel changes did not affect the school’s dealings with Adidas.