David Padgett is not a hall of fame coach but, like Batman to Gotham, he was exactly what Louisville needed him to be.
“I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be.” – Batman
He willingly accepted the head coaching position at a program that was in complete turmoil. Some media outlets went as far as to call the program a “dumpster fire.” He willingly accepted the job knowing there was a small chance to succeed. He willingly accepted the job knowing the high expectations of the fan base. He willingly accepted the job knowing he had to follow 40+ years of a hall of fame coach pacing the sidelines. He willingly accepted the job knowing it would only be for 1 season. He willingly accepted the job knowing he had about 27 minutes till the season started and he had exactly 0 assistant coaches. He willingly accepted the job knowing two of his family members were battling cancer. He willingly accepted the job because he knew the team needed him and the fans needed him.Why did they need him? Because in a time of dishonesty, negativity and uncertainty, both the team and it’s fans needed a guiding light or a beacon of hope. A hope that respectability and honesty can be restored to this prominent national power. David Padgett is the symbol of all that is good is college athletics. A kid who worked his tail off to be as good as he could be both on the court and off of it. A kid who remained loyal to the University that embraced him.
Louisville needed someone to come in and restore some normalcy until a full-time seasoned coach could be attained. Louisville needed a bridge or a stop-gap. He did, and was, exactly that – and he did it with class and integrity.
“Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough, sometimes people need more.” – Batman
While he came in and did everything the right way, fans wanted more. They wanted to contend for the ACC championship. They wanted to go to the NCAA tournament. They wanted perfection from the first year coach. While slightly unfair to David, it’s just what the fans have been accustomed to. We as fans have been spoiled with superior coaching for as long as most of us have been alive. There was no time to learn how to be a coach. Patience was not on display by this fanbase.
It’s a tough spot to be in but, in the end, both the fans and David wanted what was best for the players. David made that his promise from day 1. Right after he was announced as coach, the players were introduced at a football game vs Murray State on September 30th. While the team was brought onto the field, David remained up in his seat so the team would receive all the attention.
Throughout the season, there were many close losses or missed opportunities and in each of those instances, David took full responsibility when he could have easily said the team didn’t execute what he told them to do.
He took a ton of criticism for the team’s performance. And that criticism didn’t affect him one bit. He took it to protect his team.
Endure, Master Wayne. Take it. They’ll hate you for it, but that’s the point of Batman, he can be the outcast.” – Alfred Pennyworth
I could write for days and days telling all about the things I witnessed both on and off the court but no matter what I say or how I arrange my words, I could never fully show my appreciation for what David has done for the Louisville program, as well as these kids. My hope is that he lands a head coaching job and has great success. I also hope that one day, an experienced, successful and polished young coach comes back home to lead his alma mater to a national championship.
I have no doubt he will be successful wherever he ends up and I, for one, will be rooting for him. I feel comfortable in saying that the true Louisville fans will be doing the same.
Thank you David for being out Batman – For being exactly what Louisville needed you to be.
As Always, GO CARDS!