When the opportunity to coach Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos showed itself Rick Pitino took it faster than when he collapsed the Boston Celtics.
With Louisville parting ways with him after the various scandals that occurred, Pitino is simply looking for the best coaching job he can get. Luckily for him, that gnarly reputation that includes a national championship at Kentucky and one vacated title has one school in particular keeping a heavy eye on him.
Per reports from Adam Zagoria, Pitino is evidently UCLA’s top target to become their new head coach. The Bruins recently fired Steve Alford, and even though it’s not even fully guaranteed that the NCAA would let Pitino coach in college again, they seem fully invested.
The report also says that Pitino shares the interest, and that shouldn’t surprise anybody. UCLA is one of the ultimate blue-bloods, a historically prestigious program in need of a resurgence; almost fitting the bill of what lured John Calipari to Kentucky back in 2009.
The parties involved in wanting Pitino at UCLA are mostly the same that hired Chip Kelly to run their football program; occurring after an absolute mockery of an NFL head coaching stint. There’s a lot of factors that makes this potential pairing make sense.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, hiring Pitino is far from as easy as it sounds. Regardless of if the sanctions of his past will keep him from being approved to coach, the sheer amount of media carnage that would ensue could be enough to keep this from ever being more than a rumor.
Still, it shows that a top tier college basketball program, regardless of their current prestige, still holds Pitino in high regards as a coach. Even if he never signs with UCLA, it’s evident that we have far from heard the last of Rick Pitino in the college basketball realm.