Commentary: Rick Pitino Believable Regarding FBI Probe
Patino Dealt a Bad Deal
Rick Pitino is pissed. The disgraced Louisville coach has gone on the offensive, defending himself in a tell all book where he readily admits “I probably will never coach again.”
The funny thing is that Pitino, so unbelievable at times when he was the coach in Louisville, is totally believable now. First impressions are that he got a bad deal, and he isn’t afraid, now, to tell you so.
Rick Pitino’s tenure at Louisville included two scandals, one involved paying a former recruit and player; the other involving his assistant coach hiring strippers to entertain recruits. In both cases, Pitino swears he was unaware. A year ago, when the FBI was investigating college basketball coaches, I didn’t believe the legendary coach. But, now, after seeing what has happened at Ohio State and other schools, I realize that a legend like Pitino is so busy, I suspect it is pretty easy to get stuff buy him.
Would Coach Pitino Really Risk His Legacy?
Pitino has written a book “Pitino: My Story” which is in bookstores now. In doing so, he is controlling a narrative that for so long has been damaging to him. But, truth be told, he makes some valid points. One of those points is why would a coach who can absolutely recruit with the best of them risk it all by authorizing illegal payments. Pitino gets attention just by walking into the room, so why would a coach risk his legacy, his job, his livelihood on such a huge lapse in judgement. I think the actual answer to that is he wouldn’t.
The former Cardinal coach believes there were people on the Board at Louisville who were out to get him. There is evidence to support his claim, starting with memos sent asking, a year before the investigation, if it was time to replace Rick Pitino. Makes you stop and think.
Pitino, who was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, is one of the giants in his sport. He is the only coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four, having done so with Providence, Kentucky and Louisville. He is one of only two coaches, along with Roy Williams at North Carolina, to lead two different programs to at least three Final Four appearances. And, of course, he won two national titles, in 1996 at Kentucky and 2013 at Louisville. But the biggest fight he has ever had was restoring his good name after he was fired at Louisville last year.
The guy who once was the hottest commodity in basketball now can’t get an interview. But that doesn’t matter because, as Pitino says, “I can’t blame them. Louisville fired me so abruptly it gives people the impression I did something wrong. I am not considering coaching again, period.”
A candid response on twitter by Dontay Hodge @Hville34 to @andrewperloff on Pitino done coaching – “Mistake happens.. Life happens..#RickPitino is one hell of a coach..It’s in his blood He’s passionate about coaching.. Don’t give up.. Coach again… you can help today’s youth”
Mistake happens.. Life happens..#RickPitino is one hell of a coach.. It's in his blood.. He's passionate about coaching.. Don't give up.. Coach again… I hated you @KentuckyMBB then I loved you @LouisvilleMBB you can help today's youth.
— Dontay Hodge (@Hville34) September 6, 2018
History will lead us to where Pitino sits and what his legacy will be. But, there is one thing we know for certain, he told his story, his way, and it is hard not to believe him.
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