After months of speculation that Dan McDonnell’s 12th season at Louisville might be his last, the Cardinal baseball coach made it known Wednesday that he plans on remaining at U of L for the foreseeable future.
McDonnell confirmed to the Courier Journal’s Danielle Lerner that he had been contacted by Mississippi State about their coaching vacancy, but said he’s got work left to do at Louisville.
“I had a chance to learn about their program and what they’ve accomplished,” McDonnell said. “It’s a great program, but ultimately we have done great things here at Louisville and we have great things left to do here.”
McDonnell said his confidence in Louisville’s leadership, including athletic director Vince Tyra and new university president Neeli Bendapudi as a major factor in his decision.
McDonnell’s $1 million per year contract runs through 2026. He said Wednesday he had not spoken with Tyra about amending the deal.
”I’ve never been one to have one foot out the door to get an athletic director to listen to me,” McDonnell said. “I’ll leave that up to Vince to decide what he wants to do about that.”
This is obviously a monster win for Louisville athletics in general, but it’s also an enormous early triumph for new athletic director Vince Tyra.
To me, McDonnell was always the “big four” sport coach most likely to bounce in the wake of Tom Jurich’s firing. Jurich put significant time and effort into baseball, and as a result, McDonnell turned down a number of (at the time) much higher-profile gigs to remain at U of L. Tyra being able to convince Mac that this level of commitment is going to continue is a big, big deal.
What the still stinging Louisville fan base needs more than anything right now is a sense of stability. Losing one of the most popular and successful coaches U of L athletics has ever seen would have been a major setback in the effort to provide that stability.
This is a good day. Die forever, Mississippi State curse of 2017-18.