Former Louisville University men’s basketball head coach Rick Pitino wants back in the NBA, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The 66 year-old Pitino has hired well-known NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus to represent him as he makes a push to land a head coaching spot come spring.
Story on ESPN: Rick Pitino hires agent, wants chance to become NBA coaching candidate. “I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.” https://t.co/0Y21NK3WxV
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 29, 2018
Pitino was fired from the University of Louisville in October 2017 following an FBI investigation regarding federal bribery and fraud against the men’s basketball program.
The news comes after Pitino made comments in September on ESPN’s Get Up that he was “done coaching.” Pitino is a college coaching legend who won titles at both Louisville and the University of Kentucky. He collegiate success has been further exemplified by the size of his “coaching tree.” There are 21 of Pitino’s former assistant coaches and players who have gone on to become Division I head coaches, including Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith.
Pitino has also coached at the NBA level twice before, with the New York Knicks from 1987 to 1989 and the Boston Celtics from 1997 to 2001. He amassed a 192-220 record that included two playoff trips with the Knicks. But his last stint ended on a sour note, as he resigned 34 games into the 2000-2001 season following an underwhelming 102-146 mark with the Celtics.
“I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization,” Pitino told ESPN. “That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”
The veteran head coach definitely has the credentials and experience to be warranted another shot. But Pitino has been previously linked to several other scandals apart from the one that resulted in his dismissal, causing concerns for his integrity. Also, being disconnected from coaching the sport for over a year now and the NBA for nearly two decades creates even more uncertainty as to how the aging Pitino would perform.
As of now, there are no reports of any NBA teams actively recruiting Pitino.