There are conflicting reports today about the University of Rhode Island’s plans for replacing head coach Dan Hurley, who left to coach the University of Connecticut.
According to GoLocalProv.com, URI had a deal in place to hire Rick Pitino before university president David Dooley vetoed the decision.
The article states that multiple sources had confirmed that athletic director Thorr Bjorn had agreed to pay Pitino $2 million per year to coach Rams, but the University of Rhode Island quickly made a public statement to refute the report.
Despite the request from URI that the story be removed, the article is still available on GoLocalProv.com. The URI administration claims that nobody at their institution has had contact with Pitino, and that the story is completely invalid.
Pitino has publicly announced that he would like to get back into coaching after being fired by the University of Louisville for being implicated in the FBI probe as having a role in arrangement payments to recruits.
There were rumors that he may coach in a professional league overseas, but it is more likely that Pitino would take on a less prestigious college gig than leaving the country.
Given his roots in New England and his success at Providence early in his career, Pitino to URI makes a lot of sense. They had a very strong season in 2017-2018 and could be built into a perennial tournament team with the right person at the helm.
It is unclear at this point whether the initial report had any teeth to it. On one hand, the site claims that multiple sources supported the claim that Pitino had accepted an offer to coach at URI.
On the other hand, the same article lists Pitino as a two-time national champion. Based on a recent banner removal at the YUM! Center, that is obviously fake news.