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SYRACUSE, NY - FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals calls a play for his team against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome on February 18, 2015 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeated Louisville 69-59. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

Rick Pitino Sues University Of Louisville Athletic Association

Rick Pitino is retaliating hard against the University of Louisville following his firing last month.

Rick Pitino Louisville lawsuit news

The Hall of Fame basketball coach — a former New York Knicks coach — is suing the Cardinals’ Athletic Association for $37.6 million, claiming it breached his contract by placing him on unpaid administrative lead without notice and terminating him without a legally justified “cause.”

The 65-year-old — who had coached Louisville since 2001 — was dismissed on Oct. 16 after the Cardinals acknowledged their men’s basketball team was being investigated in a federal bribery case along with several other college basketball programs. Pitino is not named in the federal complaint and has denied involvement in and knowledge of alleged payments to a recruit’s family. Brian Bowen is believed to be that recruit.

Pitino’s lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court seeks liquidated contract damages of $4.307 million through 2026. It says the ULAA did not give him 10 days advance notice before it ”effectively fired” him and insists that he followed suggestions to improve oversight following a sex scandal that has resulted in NCAA sanctions.

Louisville’s basketball assistant coaches and other staffers allegedly hired escorts and strippers to entertain new recruits within the last two years. In addition, recruits were allegedly steered toward certain sponsors like Adidas, and also toward specific sports agents and financial advisers.

Louisville has since announced that Bowen, a freshman, won’t play for the school but may transfer if he wishes.

“As a matter of policy, the university does not comment on pending litigation,” Louisville spokesman John Karman said in an email.

Pitino also sued Adidas last month, claiming damages caused by the apparel company’s improper dealings with recruits.

SYRACUSE, NY – FEBRUARY 18: Head coach Rick Pitino of the Louisville Cardinals calls a play for his team against the Syracuse Orange during the second half at the Carrier Dome on February 18, 2015 in Syracuse, New York. Syracuse defeated Louisville 69-59. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

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Written by Pablo Mena