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#pounditWednesday, August 12, 2020

Rick Pitino

Richard Pitino defends father Rick, says he ‘wants to still coach’

Richard Pitino

We’ve heard a bit from former Louisville coach Rick Pitino since he was terminated by the Cardinals, but now his son Richard is speaking out about his past and future.

Richard Pitino, the head coach at Minnesota, defended his father, saying all wrongdoing at Louisville would have occurred without Rick Pitino’s knowledge and emphasizing that he’d like to coach again.

“I haven’t spoken much about it because we were still in our season, but I worked for my dad for three years. I know the expectations when you work for him,” Richard Pitino told Marcus Fuller of the Star Tribune. “Unfortunately, he had some people that let him down. The tough part of this recent thing is nobody knows how long this FBI stuff is going to take. You see these other universities and schools taking a wait and see approach with those implicated in it. So it’s hard for my dad’s situation because I don’t think anybody knows what the truth is. They would obviously have to believe him. I know 100 percent he had zero to do with any of that stuff. I know 100 percent he wouldn’t in a million years tell anyone to be involved in that stuff. If anyone was ever involved in a NCAA violation of some sort they were doing it without him knowing.

“So I don’t know if he’ll coach next season. It’s going to have to be somebody who believes in him. He’s one of the best coaches to ever coach the game. He wants to still coach. If I’m an AD that has an opening, I think I would be crazy not to consider him.”

Rick Pitino’s innocence is certainly a matter of dispute, to say the least. Given how Richard discussed college jobs, it seems unlikely that New Zealand is on Pitino’s radar at the moment.

Report: New Zealand basketball team offers Rick Pitino coaching job

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino’s coaching career in the United States appears pretty shot, so he may have to look overseas.

If he wants to, though, he’ll reportedly have the opportunity. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the NBL’s New Zealand Breakers have reached out to Pitino’s representatives to try to sell him on coaching there.

Pitino may have some major skeletons in his closet stateside. That will be less of an issue on the other side of the world, where a team like this will be looking for publicity and a high-profile track record of success. That said, it may be a longshot convincing him to take up the role.

Rick Pitino reportedly linked to Georgia job

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino still wants to continue coaching, and he may be eyeing the job that just opened up in the SEC.

ESPN’s Jay Williams reported on Saturday that he has been hearing the ex-Louisville coach’s name in connection with Georgia’s head coaching position.

Pitino, 65, had coached Louisville since 2001, but his success at the school was dampened by a number of high-profile scandals over the years. He was ultimately fired in October after being implicated in an alleged “pay for play” scheme involving a relationship with Adidas wherein he supposedly directed payments to top recruits. Pitino continues to deny any wrongdoing though.

As for Georgia, they just fired head coach Mark Fox after nine years in charge. Hiring Pitino (along with all of the good and bad that comes with him) would certainly make waves, but they should have some slightly safer options as well.

Twitter reacts to Louisville having to vacate 2013 national title

Rick Pitino

The NCAA announced on Tuesday that the Louisville men’s basketball will be forced to vacate 123 victories from 2012-2015, including its 2013 national championship.

The sanctions stem from an investigation into a sex scandal that took place at the university in which strippers were hired to dance and perform sex acts for recruits. The NCAA ruled that the violations resulted in players participating in games while ineligible, and Louisville’s appeal was denied.

With the ruling, Louisville has become the first Division I college basketball team to vacate a national title. As you might expect, Twitter had some enthusiastic reactions to the news, most notably from people who mocked the infamous national championship tattoo that Pitino got in 2013.

Some felt the punishment was too harsh:

Again, this punishment stems from stripper parties that were held for Louisville players and recruits. The scandal is separate from an FBI investigation into Louisville allegedly funneling money to top recruits in exchange for commitments, so this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Jim Boeheim stands up for Rick Pitino after win over Louisville

Jim Boeheim

Jim Boeheim stood up for his colleague Rick Pitino after Syracuse’s 78-73 win over Louisville on Monday night.

During Boeheim’s postgame news conference, the topic of Pitino came up because he is no longer the head coach of the Cardinals since being ousted following the FBI scandal.

Boeheim called Pitino one of the best coaches ever. He also questioned why Pitino was the only coach fired among the programs implicated in the FBI scandal.

“He’s a great friend of mine, and I feel bad about the whole situation, but it’s what happened,” Boeheim said. “Interesting the other three coaches are still coaching. I don’t know if that means anything or not.”

Not many are questioning Pitino’s accomplishments as a head coach, but there’s a lot more that goes into his firing. Let’s not also forget that he was already in trouble for the sex scandal at the school too. Between his involvement in both scandals, that was enough for Louisville to decide it was time to move on.

Rick Pitino sues Louisville for $38 million

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino is on the warpath.

The former Louisville coach has sued the university for $38 million, according to a report. TMZ Sports says Pitino filed his suit in U.S. District Court. They say the $38 million figure comes from the salary Pitino was set to earn through 2026, which is when his contract ran with Louisville.

The suit also mentions that Pitino was not given 10 days of notice prior to his firing, which is called for by his contract.

Pitino, 65, was the coach at Louisville since 2001 and had taken the team to three Final Fours, including a national championship won in 2013. During his time at Louisville, he was involved in an extortion attempt that led to a disclosure of an extramarital affair, and his staff was accused of throwing sex parties for recruits. The latest allegations which led to his ousting including a relationship with Adidas where recruits were paid to come to the school. Pitino denied having any knowledge or involvement in the most recent scandals. An unsealed indictment says Pitino was complicit in the illegal involvement with Adidas.

Unsealed indictment states Rick Pitino directed money to recruits

Rick Pitino

Federal investigators are not buying Rick Pitino’s claims of innocence relating to the Adidas recruiting scandal.

Newly unsealed federal indictments indicate that Pitino — not named, but identified as Coach-2 in documents — both knew of and explicitly directed payments from Adidas executive Jim Gatto to potential recruits.

While this information could have been suspected from previous documents, it is the first direct evidence of Pitino’s explicit involvement in the scandal.

If accurate, this runs completely counter to Pitino’s public denials of knowledge or wrongdoing. It also means that the former Louisville coach could, in theory, end up becoming a target of the investigation.

H/T TheSpun