Big East: Pitino Signs Extension at Louisville
Rick Pitino is basketball at its best. The longtime coach has traveled throughout the U.S. and abroad coaching the sport. On Tuesday, he signed a contract extension at Louisville for five years. With the extension, Pitino has all but cemented his legacy at Louisville.
Pitino has hinted that he has had thoughts of retiring following the 2016 season, but Tom Jurich, the school’s athletic director announced on Tuesday that Pitino had signed a new extension that will keep him on the Cardinal sidelines through 2022.
That means his hint of retiring has been delayed by at least six more years and gives him at least 10 more on the Louisville bench. With that extension, it is hard to believe he would coach anywhere else before permanently retiring.
Pitino said he was born in New York City but wants to be buried as a Kentuckian. He has always wanted to coach youngsters and prepare them for the next part of their lives. Whether preparing them to play for the NBA or some other professional basketball league or for a professional career in business, Pitino’s desire to do that has never faltered.
Before arriving in Louisville, Pitino was well known in a number of different cities for his coaching successes. He started in Hawaii and then quickly moved on to Boston University. His first turn in the national spotlight however, came when he was coaching the Providence Friars and took them on a run into the Final Four in 1987.
He then was able to restore power to one of the country’s most respected and prestigious basketball programs, the Kentucky Wildcats. Then he took a career move that landed him in Boston as the head coach of the Boston Celtics, which some wonder why. He even coached for a short while for the New York Knicks.
Thus far, in his career as a collegiate coach, Pitino has coached 857 games. He has coached 381 at Louisville and 269 at Kentucky. His career won lost record at the collegiate level is 627-230 a .732 percentage for 4 teams over 26 seasons.
If he coaches 33 games each season for another ten seasons he will reach over 1,000 games coached, with over 700 of them coaching the Cardinals. At that time the majority of people in college basketball and for that matter, all of basketball will think of Pitino as the coach of Louisville and nowhere else.
A decade ago, Pitino was trying to decide between the Big East Cardinals or the Big 10 Michigan Wolverines. He could have just stayed where he was in Lexington and become one of the world’s most famous coaches, but he did not. He opted for the Celtics and then returned shortly to the college ranks and to the bitter rival of Kentucky blue, the red of Louisville.
Pitino has been polarizing his entire career. He has been outspoken and an individual. No one however, can say he has not been a winner. He will go down as one of the best in the business and he still potentially has another 10 years to add to his already impressive numbers.