Former Louisville coach Pitino: NCAA cannot rewrite history, 2013 title banner should remain
Rick Pitino, the former Louisville men’s basketball coach seemingly in exile after being ousted from the Cardinals’ program in the wake of two NCAA scandals, reportedly said Tuesday he could bring another storied college program back to an “elite level” but first he’d need an apology from the Southern District of New York.
Adam Zagoria, who covers college basketball with his own blog and for several outlets including the New York Times, posted on Twitter an apparent text from Pitino about his potential interest in becoming the head coach at St. John’s after rumors that Chris Mullin is stepping down there.
The rambling reply includes a defense of former Louisville athletics director Tom Jurich before stating: “I would bring St John’s to the elite level not seen since Louie (Carnesecca) roamed the sidelines. But before that could ever happen, the Southern District of N.Y. would have to apologize for ruining an innocent man’s reputation by putting his name in a complaint. So good luck to my hometown university because that’s not happening.”
The apology referenced would supposedly need to come from the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Joon H. Kim, then acting U.S. Attorney there, led a press conference in September 2017 announcing an indictment that shook the college basketball landscape, naming a number of college assistant coaches, an Adidas basketball executive and others in a wide-ranging pay-for-play set of allegations that led to a number of guilty pleas and convictions since.
No one from the University of Louisville was ever named in the indictment or later charged, but the Cardinals’ program and two assistants were implicated as unnamed parties and U of L’s ties to Adidas and its indicted and later convicted exec James Gatto was a major part of the government’s case.
Pitino and Jurich were fired by the University of Louisville just a few weeks after the indictment was announced.
Earlier this year, Pitino was named head coach of the Greek team Panathinaikos which participates in its own domestic league and a European competition. He led Panathinaikos to the Greek Cup, the domestic league title, in February.