Rick Pitino is once again inserting himself into the news. Over a year after stating that he will never do an interview again, Pitino recently sat down with Lesley Visser, a veteran sports journalist.
The entire interview lasts a little over five minutes but it is well worth a view. It’s Rick Pitino once again trying to interview for a college basketball job through a conduit. While it’s likely that he will never coach college basketball again, the man just cannot give it up.
In an interview with Pat Forde on ESPN 680, Andy Sweeney (host of The Take 3-6 on ESPN 680 AM, 105.7 FM) asked Forde what he thinks will happen with Pitino, The Yahoo! columnist forcefully stated that he thinks another postseason ban is coming to UofL and that Rick Pitino will face a five year show cause penalty. He will be in his seventies when that show cause has expired.
While the odds of Pitino stalking the bench in college basketball once again are extremely low, there’s no doubt the man made an enduring impact on the sport. There are both positive and negative aspects to that impact.
In the above interview with Visser, Pitino not only claims that he wouldn’t change anything about his coaching career, he also claims that he still loves the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Not only that, he loves both UK and UofL. Still. After all the bridge burning that he’s done.
Afterall, Pitino routinely mocked UK fans and went out of his way to show his disdain for the fanbase. He’s currently suing UofL for excess of forty million dollars after he, knowingly or not, completely wrecked their program and multiple times made it the punchline of college basketball.
This expression of his love led Courier-Journal columnist Dominique Yates to write an article stating that UK and UofL fans should one day honor Pitino if he ever decides to return to the Bluegrass State.
Yates points out that Pitino brought Kentucky Wildcats basketball back from the brink. Which he did and I think the fan base will forever be grateful for that. Fans would have welcomed him back if he had just gone to the Boston Celtics and then gone to any other college in America besides Louisville.
But the damage has been done and it’s going to take longer for it to be rebuilt. Afterall, fans don’t forget things like this:
That being said; time heals all wounds. Life after Pitino wasn’t so bad for Kentucky basketball and the Big Blue Nation. The season after his departure was celebrated with a National Title. Tubby Smith made an appearance in the Elite Eight four times during his tenure and the Cats were still nationally relevant. Pitino can’t be blamed for the Billy Gillispie nonsense; that was a Barnhart misfire.
The current state of Kentucky basketball is all smiles with the job that John Calipari has done in Lexington. Calipari himself, who for years was no fan of Pitino, is ready to extend the olive branch to his old foe.
Things are much more complicated for The Ville. Pitino embarrassed the program with his sexual liaison with Karen Sypher. That incident alone would have been a fireable offense for most college programs in America. Yet he survived.
Next was the Katina Powell stripper scandal. The fallout from that included a self-imposed postseason ban, probation, and the vacation of games and a National Title. That marked the first time the NCAA ever stripped a National Title from a University.
The coup de grace came a short time later as the Louisville Cardinals were made the face of the Adidas/FBI pay for play scandal. Pitino was fired along with longtime athletic director Tom Jurich. The immediate fallout from that was the season was tanked and the Cards wallered away in the NIT.
The rest of the story has yet to be written but I doubt the ending will be a happy one for Card Nation. If Pat Forde is correct, and he usually is, it’s going to get worse for them.
While most organized religions teach us to forgive and forget, I don’t see that happening anytime soon for UofL fans. To some, sports transcends the tenets of kindness and forgiveness that religion espouses.
It’s going to be a cold day in hell before Pitino will be cheered in the Yum! Center.
Will UK or UofL ever bring Pitino back to honor him?
This poll is closed
Yes, both will