Rick Pitino sounds like a “desperate, angry, bitter person,” according to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who was one of the former Louisville men’s basketball coach’s targets in his new book, “Pitino: My Story.”
Bevin joined Leland Conway on NewsRadio 840 WHAS on Wednesday morning and was asked to respond to assertions leveled by Pitino and his book that the governor was somehow involved in his removal from the university.
“It’s pretty sad. It really is,” Bevin said. “He was a great coach, and his life is devolving into this.”
Pitino has been making the rounds promoting the book this week and has reiterated its assertion that Bevin had something to do with his firing from the university last October in the wake of an FBI investigation into alleged corruption in college basketball.
In the book, Pitino described the governor as a “religious zealot with a puritanical streak” and said that Bevin clashed with former athletics director Tom Jurich over the refinancing of the KFC Yum Center and the program’s lucrative new contract with Adidas. And by way of Pitino’s connection to Jurich, Bevin wanted Pitino out, as well.
“There are many people in Louisville who will testify that Bevin wanted (Jurich) out. They heard it, firsthand,” Pitino said in one of the interviews he’s given promoting the book. The clip was played for the governor to react to Wednesday.
Bevin told Conway that the University of Louisville has been integral to the growth of the city and has been an “anchor” in the community, and he acknowledged the success of the athletics program has been a large part of that.
“Here’s a guy who also excelled at many levels, both at UK and at U of L — not so much, a little bit of a sad chapter there with the Celtics — but in general a guy who has been up and down and mostly up,” Bevin said. “And now, he just sounds like a desperate, angry, bitter person, who wants to lay blame everywhere but at his own feet, which is where, frankly, so much of it belongs.”
“Pitino: My Story” is in book stores now.