Rick Pitino just cannot stay away from college basketball.
Even after going to Europe to coach overseas, Pitino continues to publicly comment on what is happening in the NCAA world. Normally it is innocent commentary because he takes the time to watch games, but on Tuesday, he took it a step further.
A writer recently asked me what coaches today would I compare to the ones when I first started. After giving it some thought:— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) February 12, 2019
Jay Wright-Chuck Daly
When asked about comparing current coaches to those in a past generation, Pitino tweeted out some interesting pairings:
- Mike Krzyzewski - John Wooden
- Tom Izzo - Rollie Massimino
- John Calipari - Larry Brown
- Roy Williams - Dean Smith
- Jay Wright - Chuck Daly
- Jim Boeheim - Ray Meyer
- Bob Huggins - Don Haskins
On the surface, that looks like a fine list of current coaches on the left and legendary guys on the right. But if you give a second look to that Calipari-Brown comparison, you can see where it may have something behind it.
Larry Brown led the UCLA Bruins to the 1980 National Championship game. Although they lost to Louisville 59–54, their tournament wins in that run were later vacated due to playing ineligible players.
Brown then moved on to Kansas, where he won a National Championship in 1988 behind the play of Danny Manning. He then left for the NBA just before the NCAA banned Kansas from 1989 postseason play due to recruiting violations that occurred under Brown’s watch.
Fast forward to 2015 when the SMU Mustangs received a 2016 postseason ban and lost nine scholarships under Brown’s leadership. His administrative assistant was busted for completing coursework for one of the players.
Larry Brown has won both NCAA and NBA championships as a head coach and has been named Coach of the Year in both as well. However, he is most notably known for constantly being in trouble with the NCAA.
It is certainly possible that Pitino knows Brown personally and thinks a lot of him. He could have meant the comparison to Coach Cal as a compliment. But on the surface, this certainly looks like it could have been a shot at Calipari.
What do you think were Rick Pitino’s intentions in comparing Calipari to Larry Brown?