Satan. Lucifer. Beelzebub. Old Nick. Mephistopheles. The Prince of Darkness. Diablo. Rick Pitino?
All of the previous words are synonyms for the Devil; the adversary of God, Jesus, and the good of mankind. In Christian lore, Lucifer was one of God’s favored angels. He became jealous of God’s love for his new creation and their free will; that new creation happened to be humanity.
When Lucifer led an uprising against the Almighty, he was flung down into the bowels of the earth and was made to be the overlord of Hell, another dimension created specifically to torture and punish humans that committed the most grievous of sins.
When we picture the Devil, by we I mean those of us that believe that such a creature does in fact exist, we picture a horned being covered in hot red skin with cloven hooves for feet, a black twisted goatee, and a forked tail.
Could the devil be a senior citizen in expensive Armani (sometimes white) suits?
That is what Couch Slouch of the Washington Post would have us believe. In his article, Rick Pitino Belongs on a Mount Rushmore of Charm-All Coaching Charlatans, the introductory sentence is “Rick Pitino is the devil”.
No word mincing with this guy.
Before I continue with my commentary and analysis, I would be remiss if I did not mention that the author of this article is not a fan of John Calipari, either. He writes, “Pitino, along with Jim Boeheim, John Calipari, and Roy Williams, constitute the Mount Rushmore of charm-all coaching charlatans.” It needed to made clear that Cal doesn’t miss the author’s ire.
The author also points out the good things that Pitino has done in his career:
Of course, Louisville’s Pitino has had remarkable success — 15th all time in career victories in Division I men’s basketball, he’s the only coach to lead three schools to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville) and two schools to an NCAA title (Kentucky and Louisville ).
We as Kentucky Wildcats basketball fans can all appreciate what Rick did here when he was the coach. He has a banner in the rafters at Rupp and it should stay there.
Now back to our regularly scheduled Pitino bashing, because there are some valid points in the article that have to do with the kind of coach he has been at the University of Louisville.
The biggest transgression that Pitino has committed is as follows:
Pitino’s time-tested mantra?
“See nothing. Say nothing.”
Pitino and his current outpost for misconduct, Louisville, say the coach is not accountable for the following:
From 2010 to 2014 — which includes the Cardinals’ 2013 NCAA title team — a basketball staffer hired escorts and strippers for parties with recruits and players at a campus dormitory.
In its investigation this year, the NCAA faulted Pitino for failing to monitor the staffer.
In response, Pitino pulls off a bit of high-level linguistic derring-do — he denies having any knowledge of the on-campus gentlemen’s club and denies he failed to monitor the situation, saying, “I over-monitor my staff.”
Of course, we get the usual Pitino-ese explanation where he lies and contradicts himself. The author also brings up his liaison with Karen Sypher and his often forgot about NCAA infractions while he was at Hawaii. In both instances, Pitino tried to duck blame and skirt responsibility.
While the NCAA nailed him the first time for his infractions, although they were minor, and he escaped any professional repercussions from the Italian eatery incident, the chickens may be coming home to roost for Pitino in his latest scandal.
Anyhow, let’s give credit where credit is due: Someone at Louisville, monitored or otherwise, realized that offering recruits free sex with strippers was an excellent recruiting tool; the staffer even provided stacks of dollar bills to spread around to the ecdysiasts.
Now, I am not an NCAA regulator and I have not seen the updated NCAA handbook, but my hunch is that sex with strippers falls under the category of “impermissible benefits.”
Does all of this make Rick Pitino the Devil?
What Pitino is is a hypocritical egomaniac that wants credit for all the good he has done but wants to deny any responsibility when things go wrong.
But aren’t most of these coaches responsible of those transgressions to some extent? Yes, most of them are and I would argue that is partially why some of them are so successful at what they do; they have to be able to live in a bubble otherwise the constant criticism from fans, players, AD’s, owners, and fellow coaches would be almost too much to bear.
I’m not making excuses for Pitino, but I am trying to view things from his perspective, as sick and twisted as that sounds.