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Why did Rick Pitino leave Louisville? Former Cardinals coach leads upset-minded Iona into March Madness


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For the primary time since 2017, Rick Pitino goes to be teaching within the NCAA Tournament. The Iona Gaels coach led his group, the No. 9 seed within the Mid-American Athletic Conference to a title within the MAAC Championship sport.

As a consequence, Pitino will make his first look for the reason that Louisville Cardinals misplaced within the second spherical of NCAA March Madness in 2017.

So, why did Rick Pitino leave Louisville? What has his teaching profession been wish to date? Here’s every little thing it’s essential to know in regards to the long-time NCAA coach as Iona takes on Alabama within the opening spherical of the NCAA Tournament.

Why did Rick Pitino leave Louisville?

Pitino left Louisville after a 3rd main scandal befell beneath his watch. The ultimate straw was a pay-for-play scandal by which company sponsor Adidas allegedly paid $100,000 to a recruit’s household to ensure that him to come back to Louisville. That recruit was later revealed to be Brian Bowen. That scandal impacted six universities and their school basketball applications. In the wake of the sweeping allegations, Pitino was ousted.

While Pitino has denied any wrongdoings — although he did reveal that he thought he deserved to be fired in a latest interview — unsealed courtroom paperwork revealed that Pitino had called indicted Adidas executive Jim Gatto on the request of agent Christian Dawkins to have Adidas pay the $100,000 requested from Bowen. Pitino’s cellphone data confirmed three calls to Gatto earlier than Bowen introduced he could be going to Louisville.

During his time at Louisville, it was revealed that Pitino had an affair with Karen Cunagin Sypher and paid $3,000 for her to have an abortion. Sypher, spouse of Louisville tools supervisor Tim Sypher, then demanded that Pitino pay her $10 million in an extortion try. That scandal broken Pitino’s picture, however Louisville elected to maintain him on as head coach regardless of the morality clause in his contract.

Additionally, there was one other scandal sandwiched between these two: the 2015 Louisville basketball intercourse scandal. That scandal was targeted on former Louisville participant and Director of Basketball Operations Andre McGee offering improper advantages to present and potential Louisville gamers. This included strippers and prostitutes that have been offered to the gamers spanning 2010 to 2014.

As a results of that scandal, Pitino was suspended for 5 video games as a result of he didn’t correctly monitor recruiting exercise. That suspension was set to happen to begin the 2017-18 season. Ironically, within the aftermath of these occasions, Pitino refused to resign and claimed that he would in the future “walk away in celebration”.

“I will not resign and let you down,” Pitino said. “Someday I will walk away in celebration of many memorable years, but that time is not now.”

Of course, that did not occur. Pitino was fired for the pay-for-play scandal earlier than he may even serve the five-game suspension levied to him because of the intercourse scandal.


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Where has Rick Pitino coached?

Pitino began his profession at Hawaii as an assistant after a four-year school profession at UMass. He briefly served as Hawaii’s interim head coach within the wake of improper advantages allegations and would later leave after being tied to eight of the 64 allegations.

From there, Pitino was an assistant at Syracuse for 3 years beneath Jim Boeheim and would later coach for Boston University. Pitino led BU to a 91-51 document and bought them into the NCAA Tournament in 1983 when it was a 52-team area. After spending two years as a New York Knicks assistant, Pitino coached at Providence and helped flip across the Friars with Billy Donovan working the purpose.

After that, Pitino was given an opportunity to be a head coach with the New York Knicks. Pitino lasted two years with the Knicks and led them to a 52-30 document in his ultimate yr there. The Knicks made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals however Pitino, then 36 years previous, wished to return to the school sport. He ended up teaching Kentucky for eight years, posting a 219-50 document and helped to rebuild the repute of the varsity after scandal beneath the earlier regime. Pitino has the fifth-most wins in Kentucky historical past and helped the Wildcats win a nationwide title in 1996.

Pitino made another leap to the NBA after falling in the course of the 1997 championship sport. He took management of the Boston Celtics from 1997-2001 and put collectively what was simply the worst teaching stint of his profession. Pitino’s Celtics by no means logged greater than 36 wins in a season and missed the playoffs in every of his three-and-a-half years in control of the group. He amassed a 102–146 document with the group and is remembered most for buying and selling Chauncey Billups lower than a yr into his NBA profession and buying and selling Ron Mercer only a yr later.

Despite Pitino floundering in Boston, he was nonetheless a widely-respected school coach. After his resignation in ’01, Louisville employed him and he coached there till 2017. He led the Cardinals to a 293-143 document on his watch. His 293 wins rank third in Louisville basketball historical past. He additionally led the group to a nationwide title and one other Final Four look, however these titles have since been vacated.

After Louisville fired him amid scandal, Pitino coached Greek membership Panathinaikos to back-to-back Greek League championships and a 2019 Greek Cup win. Now, he is at Iona and led the Gaels to a 12-5 document and a event berth in his first season. 

Rick Pitino’s document in NCAA Tournament

During his profession, Pitino has logged 55 NCAA Tournament wins, together with those that have been vacated because of varied scandals. So, he technically ranks No. 5 all-time in March Madness wins, however he not seems there within the leaderboard due to the three seasons price of vacated wins together with a visit to the Final Four, a nationwide title, and one other journey to the Sweet 16.

Pitino’s groups have made the NCAA Tournament 21 instances. In the opening spherical of the event, they’ve posted a 17-4 document total, so Pitino’s possibilities of successful within the opening spherical look good.


However, it is price noting that Louisville misplaced within the first spherical in back-to-back years beneath Pitino in 2010 and 2011. They have been a 9-seed of their first loss however a 4-seed of their second loss. So, it is attainable for Pitino-coached groups to lose early. It’s additionally price noting that every of the 2 instances Louisville was a first-round underdog beneath Pitino, they misplaced. That means it could be onerous for Fifteenth-seeded Iona to knock off an SEC powerhouse like Alabama.



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