In a recent interview University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino stated that he planned on coaching another 3-5 years and after he left he would suggest that he be replaced by Butler’s Brad Stevens. Why is Pitino making suggestions about who should replace him when and if he retires? Let me just say right now that I am not a Pitino fan. I’ve never been a fan of him. When he was hired in 2001 at Louisville I remember telling everyone that Louisville will never win a championship with him as coach. Fast forward 10 years later and have not been proved wrong.
Watching this interview today I was dismayed at how high of a level people in Louisville hold him to. I cannot understand why Pitino is held as this basketball coaching God. Now I’m not saying that Pitino is not a good coach, let me make that clear. He is a GOOD coach, not a GREAT coach. Ok so he won a National Championship with Kentucky in 1996. What has he done for Louisville? What has he done at Louisville that would make him one of the highest paid college basketball coaches today? For the 2010-11 season Pitino earned $7.5 million. $7.5 million dollars for losing in the first round of the tournament to Morehead State. Really? I would really like to know what Athletic Director Tom Jurich sees that justifies him making that much money. From what I see all Pitino has accomplished is a Final Four appearance in the 2004-05 season. One Final Four appearance has earned Pitino a base salary of $2.5 million. Pitino has been at Louisville for 10 years and in those 10 years this is what he has done; 2 NIT appearances, 3 losses in the 1st round of the NCAA tournament, 2 losses in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament, 2 Elite 8 NCAA tournament appearances, and a Final Four. Again I ask what exactly has he done to be put on such a pedestal?
Pitino went on to say that although he sees himself staying 3-5 more years he doesn’t plan on leaving until he at least makes another Final Four appearance or wins a National Championship. I’ve been cheering for Louisville since my days of undergrad there and I really do want to see them win a National Championship I’m just not convinced that Pitino is the man to take them there. So as of today I’m counting down the next 3-5 years and hoping that Pitino really does leave. Brad Stevens or not…I’m ready for this Pitino era to be over.