Sidelines with John Clay

Rick Pitino responds to John Calipari’s comments about what coaches know

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino posed for the cameras on the Red Carpet on Derby Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky, on May 7, 2016.
Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino posed for the cameras on the Red Carpet on Derby Day at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky, on May 7, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader

Maybe because his team was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament the first weekend, but it seems like UK coach John Calipari has made a concerted effort to stay in the news.

He’s been on numerous talk shows and podcasts. He made headlines by using a blog post on his website to take a shot at Duke. Last week, Calipari appeared to take a shot at North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Monday, Pitino fired back.

First, Calipari’s comments: Appearing on the Mike Lupica Show, Calipari said that if something happens with a player in his hometown or his family, “There’s no way you can know. You just don’t know. So all I would say is most coaches have an idea if it happened on their campus. You might not be the first to know about it, but you eventually hear about it.”

Of course, Pitino has steadfastly denied that he had any knowledge of “entertainment” for recruits at the U of L basketball dorm that were allegedly arranged by former staffer Andre McGee. The “entertainment” reportedly included parties that featured strippers and escorts.

According to the Courier-Journal, Pitino was on with WHAS Radio’s Terry Meiners on Monday when he was asked about Calipari’s comments.

“Whether it’s Duke last month or us this month, these type of comments -- we’re here to build up the image of college basketball, not tear down people,” Pitino said. “I don’t live in a glass house and I don’t throw stones.”

Pitino said ACC coaches have a gentlemen’s agreement not to comment on other programs and that coaches take a “mind your own business” approach. He also said that if he crossed paths with Calipari this summer he would ask the UK coach about his comments.

As for Williams, the North Carolina coach has denied any knowledge of the academic fraud issues that are being investigated by the NCAA. UNC athletes, including basketball players, reportedly utilized fake classes to pad GPAs and meet eligibility standards.

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