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.
The New Zealand Breakers, I’m told, have offered their vacant head coaching position to former Louisville coach Rick Pitino. The @NZBreakers play in Australia’s @NBL and their new American ownership has been pitching Pitino’s representative on the post this week.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 30, 2018
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 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.
Been hearing Rick Pitino’s name a lot from trusted sources regarding the Georgia job.
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) March 11, 2018
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.
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.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 20, 2018
Louisville’s banner is coming down. Cover up that tattoo, Rick. pic.twitter.com/7xYMUXThno
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) February 20, 2018
IT HAS BEEN 11,649 DAYS SINCE LOUISVILLE'S LAST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP.
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) February 20, 2018
“Hey Cal, did Louisville win the 2013 National Championship?”
— Andrew Cassady (@AndCassady) February 20, 2018
Louisville fans, on the 2013 national championship they thought they won: pic.twitter.com/xeE2JsCZ1H
— Not Jerry Tipton (@NotJerryTipton) February 20, 2018
— Jay Lawless (@UKJayL) February 20, 2018
UNC fans hearing the Louisville news: pic.twitter.com/wuqGxsM3rm
— Joe S. (@TarHeelNation23) February 20, 2018
NCAA for the 2013 NCAA Louisville Tournament directs you to look at this gif pic.twitter.com/MrhCtBYs08
— Frank Fleming (@NjTank99) February 20, 2018
Some felt the punishment was too harsh:
Remember: 20 years of academic fraud by UNC – cool in the NCAA's eyes. But using Cinnamon and Destiny to get a kid to commit to Louisville – TAKE DOWN THE BANNER!!!
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) February 20, 2018
So if the Louisville MBB team has to give up its 2013 National Championship, then who becomes National Champion. Nobody? I've always thought vacating wins-titles was pretty stupid, and this is from a man in favor of harsh punishments for cheating.
— James Bowman (@JBowman_ATL) February 20, 2018
Louisville program is finished. Vacated their national title? Does that make Michigan the champion with an asterisk? Vacating wins from 2011-2015, the punishment is too harsh.
— ????tony3di (@Tony3di) February 20, 2018
Not a huge fan of Ncaa making Louisville “vacate” their 2013 title. Like what even is that punishment, so Michigan won now or something even though they didn’t? Haha. Just think I need to see a punishment more creative than “you didn’t win the title anymore even tho you did”.
— Connor Bennett (@Connormb13) February 20, 2018
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.
- Louisville Basketball
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.
Jim Boeheim's full comments on Rick Pitino after tonight's 78-73 win over Louisville. (Sorry about the sound quality. I think I plugged into the wrong place!) pic.twitter.com/h5h3sKLclx
— Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford) February 6, 2018
“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.
- Jim Boeheim
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.
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.
NBC NEWS: Indictments unsealed in NCAA fraud and bribery case allege that Rick Pitino ("coach-2") had knowledge of and directed payments to players. pic.twitter.com/npMZtRpRyH
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) November 8, 2017
One of the people originally charged is now cooperating and the indictment indicates that they can attest to Pitino's actions.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) November 8, 2017
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.
Rick Pitino insists he had no knowledge of any payments made to recruits or any illegal scam involving Adidas, and the former Louisville basketball coach says he has already proven himself with a lie detector test.
Pitino sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas this week, and he was asked if he knew about anything that recently came out when the FBI released findings from its fraud investigation.
Rick Pitino: "I passed a lie detector test."
Watch more of his interview with Jay Bilas on SVP after the Wolves-Spurs game. pic.twitter.com/e67Lf6mE5f
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 19, 2017
“One of the toughest things you have to do is take a lie detector test,” Pitino told Bilas. “You have a blood pressure machine, you’re wired up, and I was asked two questions. … He said, ‘Did you have any knowledge of the Bowen family getting any money and did you have any knowledge of an Adidas transaction?’ I answered absolutely not on both questions and passed a lie detector test. I have no knowledge of any of this.”
Pitino was fired by Louisville on Monday for cause, meaning the university will not have to pay him the money remaining on his contract. He has adamantly denied having any knowledge of payments that were made from Adidas to five-star recruit Brian Bowen, though it would appear investigators believe they can link Pitino to the fraud scheme.
Even if Pitino can prove he had no knowledge of the alleged Adidas payments, this is the third embarrassing ordeal he has been a part of since he was hired by Louisville in 2001. He was also part of an extortion attempt in 2009 that stemmed from an affair he was having, and the NCAA had recently suspended him five games in relation to a sex parties scandal with recruits.