The University of Louisville has hired ousted Yum Center general manager Ted Nicholson to oversee the three days of men’s NCAA tournament basketball games to be played at the facility in mid-March.
Nicholson was fired as the arena’s general manager by Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman this week for undisclosed reasons. The firing prompted the fair board to ask Workman to reinstate Nicholson, which Workman has declined to do.
Workman and the fair board were already at odds after a board member disclosed in late February that there was an effort by the Beshear administration to have Workman removed from the post he’s held for about 20 years.
Fair Board chairman Ron Carmicle sent a letter to Workman informing him of U of L’s plan to hire Nicholson for the tournament games:
Feb. 29, 2012
Dear Mr. Workman:
As general manager of the KFC Yum! Center, Ted Nicholson has worked with the University of Louisville and the NCAA for two years to plan the men’s basketball tournament games to be held March 15-17 at the center.
The tournament – which is just around the corner – puts the NCAA, the university, the region and the entire state in the national public eye.
Thus your sudden dismissal of Mr. Nicholson without explanation this week has caused great concern among U of L and the NCAA about the success of the tournament.
To alleviate that concern, and to reduce the impact of your ill-timed decision on this enormous event, U of L has decided to hire Mr. Nicholson on a temporary basis to handle the games.
Like the board, U of L understands that Mr. Nicholson’s leadership and steady management are critical to the success of this event, which represents the city’s first opportunity to host the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in its beautiful new arena.
This move was necessary, I remind you, because of your refusal to reinstate Mr. Nicholson as the Kentucky Fair Board had requested you do.
As chairman of the Fair Board, I am writing to formally instruct you to fully cooperate with Mr. Nicholson and others to guarantee the success of the NCAA tournament.
I am also informing you that your action to fire Mr. Nicholson – and subsequent lack of response to the board’s concerns – will be part of the board’s upcoming and ongoing discussions of your job performance.
Chairman, Kentucky Fair Board