Former Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino was fired by that school in September amidst the wide-ranging FBI investigation of bribes and kickbacks in college basketball and ahead of the final NCAA sanctions that saw the Cardinals vacate the 2013 national title. Pitino denied any knowledge of improprieties, took a lie detector test, and even sued the school for breach of contract, but there are still questions about his knowledge and actions, including an indictment that appears to reference him saying he’d call an adidas executive and request a bribe.
And while Pitino has been floated as a candidate for numerous schools, including Rhode Island (which may or may not have looked at hiring him), he hasn’t landed anywhere yet. Now, it looks like his college coaching career might be over for good.
On Thursday, Pitino went on The Dan Patrick Show for an extensive interview. There’s lots of interesting stuff there, but the most notable part of which may have been a segment where he said a big reason why he hasn’t taken another college job is thanks to the NCAA investigation being held up by the FBI investigation. And he said that means “it’s probably not going to work for me in college basketball.” Here’s the clip:
“I’ve only been contacted by one school, it was a nice situation and we met, we talked, but it did not fit for me and it did not fit for them. And, you know what I realized, Dan, it’s probably not going to work for me in college basketball. Because one of the schools who was very interested in me called me and said ‘Look, Coach, you showed us everything that you have from a factual standpoint,’ all the evidence I showed to The Washington Post, and they said ‘We believe in you wholeheartedly.'”
“‘The problem is, we called the NCAA, and the NCAA said ‘We cannot investigate anybody, any school, any person, because the FBI has told us not to investigate until their case is closed.’ So that’s just the way it is. For my lawsuit with the University of Louisville, it’s going to take years for all of this to shake out. I’m not sure why the FBI or the prosecutors from New York are involved in college basketball, I’m not sure of any of that, but it’s going to take years to shake out.”
Pitino probably isn’t wrong that this all won’t be resolved for a while, but it’s interesting that he feels that’s going to keep him out of college basketball. Especially as he’s still adamantly proclaiming that he’s innocent:
He also claimed that Louisville “jumped the gun” with his firing, and discussed the strippers element of the controversy. But it’s his comments that he’s probably done with college basketball, at least for now, that are particularly notable. Pitino would have been an interesting name for some schools to at least consider, but if this investigation is going to prohibit that, we may have seen the end of his NCAA coaching career.
The Dan Patrick Show airs weekdays on Audience (channel 239 on DirecTV, channel 1114 on AT&T UVerse), NBCSN, and radio affiliates.