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The End of the Pitino Era is Upon Us


In the very near future, likely as early as tomorrow morning, Rick Pitino will no longer be the coach of the UL Basketball program. This is a decision that should have happened long ago, but didn’t because of a combination of success, hubris and denial that engulfed everyone from the Card fan base to the University President. Simply put, Rick Pitino was too successful to question. He made massive money for a University rising in prestige, won at the highest levels coaching a program desperate for success and helped put Louisville basketball in a national spotlight that everyone involved adored. Over the course of more than a decade, he cultivated a loyal group of supporters, ready to fight all of his battles and defend his honor, no matter how bad the transgression. The Pitino Army included powerful government officials, connected corporate friends, wealthy local businessmen, hardcore Card lovers and loyal media enablers. Regardless of the behavior, they had an answer and those who went against the #L1C4 shield were seen as enemies who must be destroyed. Pitino made himself out to be the most powerful and important person in the city of Louisville and through success and sheer will, he achieved his goal.

But tomorrow all of that will likely come crashing down. The unchecked arrogance of the Pitino dynasty has seemingly finally hit its tipping point thanks to a new Louisville leadership regime and overall fan scandal fatigue. The Pitino defenders have jumped ship, with donors holding their wallets, fans complaining in disgust and former media friends calling for resignation. It is the end of the line and even though Pitino refuses to recognize reality (as seen by his unbelievably tone-deaf statement this evening), there is simply no longer an army to defend his castle. The question now only becomes how many people will he take down with him? Does Louisville clean out the entire basketball staff and find an outsider to jump in and try to coach the team on the precipice of the season? With talk of the dreaded “Death Penalty” being whispered, how harsh a punishment does the men’s basketball team receive? And in the process of cleaning house does Pitino’s latest transgression take down the AD many believe to be one of the best in the country with him? Being a Pitino friend/associate has for years been the ticket to success in Louisville and around college basketball. Will it now be a ticket to unemployment, ridicule or worst of all, federal prison? Time will tell.

There will be plenty of time to look back at Pitino’s tenure in Louisville and Lexington for that matter, and try to process what it all means. TJ Beisner wrote earlier today that Pitino ends his career as one of the biggest sports personalities in our state’s history, yet will likely be shunned from both campuses that he called home. In some ways that is truly sad and a Greek Bluegrass sports tragedy of unrivaled proportions. But it is also a direct result of a lifetime of skirting standards, both professional and ethical, and yet finding a way to come through unscathed in the end. I often took to calling Pitino “Teflon Rick”, as it seemed nothing could stick to him and his job was saved after behavior that would have ended the career of virtually any other coach. Pitino lied about everything, from the serious to the trivial, and now with no one left to believe his most absurd assertions of all (“I was SHOCKED to learn”), the door will finally shut.

After UL self-imposed probation two years ago (a decision that privately Pitino and UL Athletics people sought to have fans blast then-President Ramsey for), I and others said that the only way for UL to get past the Katina Powell scandal was to clean house and bring a new regime. At any other University in America, that decision would have been obvious and immediate. Yet for reasons that now have become clearer, UL decided to deny and persevere…keeping the entire regime that led to the problems in the first place. Over the last two years, the effects of that decision have been made clear. The University has seen its President resign in disgrace, its Foundation has been raided of millions of dollars that are still missing and unaccounted for, its donor base has eroded to the point that paying the daily bills of the University is in jeopardy and now, an even larger basketball scandal that involves the FBI and pay-for-play has tarnished the University for decades. To an entire generation of college basketball fans, when you one thinks of scandal and rule-breaking, Louisville basketball will come to the forefront. With one quick rip of the band-aid off, this could have been avoided. But now even more pain is ahead.

Thus while I feel no sympathy for Pitino or other UL Athletics administration members, I do feel sorry for the fan base and University as a whole. It is true that the enabling by these fans helped prolong these issues, but if we are honest, most fans of schools (or politicians) they support seek to initially justify their actions when trouble occurs. UL fans wanted to believe in Rick, Tom and Bobby, and the wins and income clouded their judgment. However what is next will punish them disproportionately to whatever guilt they may have. The Cards are probably looking at a massive rebuild of early-90s Kentucky proportion and may find themselves without postseason play for multiple years. The words “Death Penalty” have been thrown about and there was probably a time I would have rooted for such a result. But the reality is that the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky need UL Basketball to exist for the betterment of the economy. Downtown Louisville and the Yum Center without UL games will be unsustainable and if that area fails, it will have a dramatic impact on the local and state economy. Even though they are our rivals, they matter also as our neighbors and while I do not pity their plight, I hope the comeuppance they receive shows some degree of mercy for them and our state.

Tomorrow the Pitino era likely ends and with it, a decade of UL sports that saw some of the greatest successes the University has ever known. Rick Pitino will stomp off into the sunset, likely angrily shouting his innocence of all charges, ignorance of the facts at hand and overall unfairness of the situation to him. But he is no victim and he certainly is no martyr. His fall is great because his scandalous reign sustained solely by absolute power and fear, inevitably led to his ultimate downfall. He will leave the University in worse shape than when he arrived and with a second fan base that once adored him, now looking away in shame. Rick Pitino, one of the top college coaches in the history of the profession, is now destined to be remembered mostly as a cheater of epic proportions and a punchline to sexual stamina jokes. It is a sad ending, but unfortunately one well-earned.

Article written by Matt Jones

112 responses to “The End of the Pitino Era is Upon Us”

  1. DrewP

    Slick rick will weizel out of this Matt!!

    1. ClutchCargo

      Even Slick Rick isn’t that slick. He gone.

    2. Cletis75

      He’s a little bit slippery! Like the 2 fingers in the pick above that he is always sniffing. I wonder if he has washed those 2 fingers since the karen sypher encounter, or if he smells them to remember his 15 seconds of fame.

  2. Basteballer

    Well done, Matthew.

    1. Luether

      A bit harsh, I think…

  3. KYcats11

    Matt must have his through the grapevine sources telling him it’s without a doubt happening, or he wouldn’t post this.

  4. south georgia cat

    Comeuppance….had to look that one up

    1. Kevin C

      Really ?? 0_o

  5. CatsforNine

    Well said. Bye Ricky, don’t forget your sunscreen. Enjoy Miami until the next hurricane washes you away. Good bye to an awful person!

  6. The Seer

    #Louisville’s Shame
    Anyone? Anyone??

    1. Bluebloodtoo

      #LouisvilleShame#4

  7. AuthorDude

    We will finally see who is in charge of the university: the university president or the entrenched athletic director.

  8. Marcushur1

    Well played Matthew, well played.

    1. Cat68

      Pitino’s arrogance is repulsive! To ever think he’d come back to KY and be a beloved figure across the state as head coach at UofL; now he’s lost that base, too. Absolute power corrupts absolutely! See ya Rick!

  9. TBW3011

    Didn’t Sypher just get out of jail? Imagine she hates to hear this news. Lol

    1. eRUPPtion

      They should interview her on KSR. lol

  10. Mathlete

    How big of a story is this? It’s a two time (TWO TIME!) Matt Jones post worthy story.

  11. Ray in Paducah

    What’s up with all the pop-up ads? Biggest news day of the site and can’t navigate due to forced ads with tiny x-outs. Get rid of that s-.

    1. eRUPPtion

      Use a popup blocker. I do on here & Facebook.

    2. STLouisBBFan

      AdBlocker Pro stops it all.

  12. BTownUKFan

    This guy has more lives than a cat. I want to see it in black and white before I will believe it. IF he somehow manages to stay the black cloud hanging over him will never go away. I wonder if BCG is ready to get back in to coaching?

  13. JLP

    Just wondering what the fallout will be for Bruce Pearl at Auburn? Is Pearson his man or a leftover from previous staff?

    1. TBW3011

      He’s Pearl’s Associate Head Coach. Not good for Bruce.

  14. BigBlueSkyDog

    Ramsey, Jurich, and Pitino comprised three legs of the Stool of Sleaze that is UL. When one leg goes, you don’t have a stool anymore. Ramsey was the first leg to go and after that it was a matter of time before the others would go. Sayonora, sleazeballs.

    1. IAmTheDanger

      Don’t forget the 4th sleazy leg of that stool in Petrino.

  15. 502CodeRed

    Holy crap.I didn’t realize how obsessed Matt, Drew, and others were with UofL. ALL DAY articles on Louisville over widespread corruption. I guess we know who the flagship is in KY. Damn,boys,take a pill. We can pretend though that year after year rosters full of 5* McDonald’s All Americans is legit though. As the X Files says “The truth is out there”. We’ll see.

    1. TBW3011

      Fitting name you have there chief. πŸ˜‰

    2. 4everUKblue

      speaking of obsessed….why is a UofLittleBrothel fan spending so much time on a UK fan site?

    3. 4everUKblue

      You probably should head back over the card chronicle and talk some of those Cards fans off the ledge bro.

    4. catman27

      502 code red your program is dead, now go to bed and dream of Pitino, Pitrino, both giving Tom some ^*#\ Trolls keep trolling!

    5. ClutchCargo

      Don’t look now, but your so-called “flagship” is headed toward a watery grave. Suck on that!

    6. Eazy

      Lol, it’s a national story. Flagship! UK has 8 titles to ULs 2 and is 34-16 vs Louisville. It’s not even a rivalry and you’re totally done now. Even after all this UL fans are still obsessed with UK. It’s pathetic and sad honestly. And flagship status has more to do with the university overall. Doubt you’d know that. UK is ranked way ahead of UL in academics and has been the biggest public university in the state forever. ULs enrollment is shrinking. UKs is growing. UL has an average act score of 22. UK is now at 27. Once again not even close.

    7. Eazy

      And those 5 stars at UK under Cal are 8-2 vs UL. UK has advanced farther than UL in 7 of the last 8 tournaments. Once again you’re a total joke.

    8. MasterBurglar

      UK has 8 titles to University 6’s two(soon to be -1) titles.

    9. catlaska

      Wow so you base your flagship theory on the fact U6 is getting massive scandal coverage. That is sad and desperate and a sick need for relevance.

    10. catsarerunnin

      Holy crap indeed CodeRed. You and the head dirty bird will soon get crapped on.

  16. TBW3011

    I’m not playing Final Fantasy 15. Don’t care how many times the ad comes up.

    1. 4everUKblue

      Ever heard of adblock plus?

    2. TBW3011

      Just making a joke. I can deal with the 3 second ad

    3. east-ky-boy

      Hilarious lol

  17. lindamyers56

    Very well stated and thought out piece.

  18. EdC

    Nice article. I would have gone with the title “Ode to a Turd” but that’s probably one of the reasons I don’t write for a living.

  19. ronnie78

    The NCAA must tell Louisville in no uncertain terms that Jurich and the AD must be cleaned out or the death penalty will come. Jurich doesn’t care about the University of Louisville or the city and he will destroy both.

  20. Bluebloodtoo

    Karma is a B!$&H, huh Pitino?

  21. Uncle_Deaner
  22. MarkPoops

    Those who live glass double-wide mobile homes….

    UK point shaving

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/obituaries/30beard.html?mcubz=1

    1. ClutchCargo

      L$100,00U4

    2. ClutchCargo

      Make that L$100,000C6

    3. UK Big Board Update
    4. Eazy

      Lol, what a joke. Lexington has a per capita income over 20k higher than Lou. UK is a far better university. And Lexington is in the top 25 nationally in education. Louisville is pure trash all the way around. Worst city I’ve lived in by far. Thank God I’m no longer there.

    5. abobicesaevior

      How many years ago was that, lol?

    6. 4everUKblue

      You must be talking about UofLittleBrothel fans living in double wide trailers.

    7. Eazy

      Lol, exactly. UL has the trashiest fans in the country. I was at the Uk game on Saturday and wasn’t sure if it was a football game or a supermodel contest. Girls at UK are incredible. Meanwhile, UL is about as ugly as it gets.

  23. MarkPoops

    UK point shaving deux (that’s French for “two” you toothless hicks)

    https://www.espn.com/classic/s/basketball_scandals_explosion.html

    1. UK Big Board Update

      U ARE SO MAD!!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      Good luck in the 2023 NCAA tournament.

    2. Eazy

      Like I said before UK is much classier and a much better school. Lexington is a much nicer city. Louisville is trash and your fans are ghetto.

  24. MarkPoops
    1. UK Big Board Update

      LOL. Pitino and Louisville are also on this list. LMAO

    2. 4everUKblue

      UofLittleBrothel is about to take the top spot on that list…..and it is so TODAY!

    3. Eazy

      This will easily be number one.

    4. Eazy

      Louisville will easily be number one. Aren’t you happy you’re finally ahead of UK in something?!

  25. MarkPoops
    1. UK Big Board Update

      Anyone think UK might go 39-0 this year?

    2. Eazy

      Oh, and despite your pathetic insults UK has way better looking girls than UL, too. I’ve gone to both schools and it’s not even close. Louisville has the ugliest student body I’ve ever seen.

  26. MarkPoops

    1952… It was a very good year….

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_penalty_(NCAA)

    1. UK Big Board Update

      Lets see, 65 years ago… man, seems like it was just yesterday.

    2. 4everUKblue

      Wow you gotta go back that far. We corrected our mistakes and paid for them UofLittleBrother can’t seem to learn from their mistakes or pay for anything but hookers and players.

    3. Eazy

      Lol, exactly. Just shows how much better we are now. And point shaving is about losing or making games close. It’s nothing like what Louisville did.

  27. MarkPoops
    1. UK Big Board Update

      Squid boy is 8-1 vs you. Maybe 8-0 soon.

    2. TakenNotGiven

      #triggered

    3. runningunnin.454

      Look at all the press releases from University-6.
      Your problems don’t seem to be with NCAA; they appear to be with those other initials…FBI.
      You know, the people that have real trials, and send real people to real prison.
      All day it sounded like a mob bust for racketeering.

  28. MarkPoops

    BTW, Matt Jones, your article was very well written. Seriously. A good piece.

    1. Eazy

      It’s obvious he didn’t attend the worst school in the power 5 by far. That’s Louisville if you didn’t know.

    2. Eazy

      It was. Why are you here again? I’ve never posted on a UL board in my life. Most people here couldn’t care less about Louisville. We own you. It wasn’t until I had the misfortune of living in the worst little “big city” in America that I came to dislike your community college.

    3. 4everUKblue

      Have a garbage bag shot Mark Poops!

  29. catlaska

    ThaT was so good Matt!!

  30. Loserville Hater

    If Loserville needs an interim coach after Tricky Rick and his staff are fired tomorrow, I hear Andre McGee is available and looking for a coaching job.

    1. 4everUKblue

      So is Katina Powell!

  31. ClutchCargo

    Sorry for your loss, MarkPoops. Enjoy taking potshots at big brother being your only form of entertainment during basketball season. LOL!

  32. DC_CatFan

    Great read Matt. As a diehard UK fan that lives in Louisville, Im also very concerned about the implications of UofL’s continued cheating and proven total disregard of both NCAA rules and now federal laws on the city I call home and the state Im so proud to be from.
    During this whole process, I have been sickened and amazed by both the UofL administration and the school’s fan base (I include the Louisville media in that group) willingness to accept and defend the athletic department’s ridiculous, tone deaf rationale for hookergate (well, the cost of prostitutes was equivalent to the price of a bag of Doritos, so it really wasn’t that bad of an infraction). They kept reasoning that there was one bad egg, and Pitino didn’t know about it, so hey, it wasn’t THAT bad. When the infraction’s committee uses the word “repugnant” to describe the allegations, yeah, it was THAT bad.
    Fast forward several months and here we are, Louisville is part of a freaking federal investigation, which will make the NCAA sanctions feel like a comforting summer breeze in comparison. I have always gotten a little enjoyment out of our little brother’s misfortune and public humiliation, which very importantly, now more than ever, is well deserved – shame on the University, the administration, the athletic department and the majority of its fan base for being enablers and blind sheep.
    But the more I think about it, the more I worry about the unforeseen and potentially devastating consequences beyond the basketball floor of this newly reported federal investigation to the university, the city of Louisville, and to a point, the state. Matt did a wonderful job of highlighting all the potential ramifications, with the lynchpin being the stability of the university and the yum center. As the public image of the university continues to dwindle so does the value of it’s student’s degrees (those students who sued were actually on to something), and the school cannot afford to rebound from it’s current dire straights with less and less $$ coming from student tuition and alumni donations. The city is inextricably tied to the school, maybe less so than Lexington is to UK, but when the school hurts, so does the city.
    And then there is the the Yum center, the crown jewel of Louisville’s downtown. It could have difficulty, excuse me, even more difficulty being financially stable without UofL basketball, and with the yum center goes the 10 years of progress Louisville has made in revitalizing it’s downtown. On top of those potential problems, I’ll add this – one thing that hasn’t really been brought up, and maybe for good reason because maybe their commitment is iron clad, but what does the ACC have to say about all this, and is there any buyer’s remorse?
    I know some, even many of you despise Louisville the city as much as the university, and would love nothing more than to see the city as well as the university get it’s much deserved “comeuppance” and then some, but I wrote all this to suggest just be careful what you wish for. While we all like to see little brother fall and make an a$$ out of themselves, we always want them to get back up so we can make fun of them some more. After all this plays out, the UofL we have grown to love and definitely hate, may never get up again and that would be devastating to everyone, not just U of L fans.

    1. Eazy

      I agree. Louisville was already the lowest rated university in the power 5. Their enrollment is shrinking. This will hurt them even more. As for the city..they need a pro team now more than ever. Lexington is growing and UK is improving drastically. Lexington is way ahead in terms of education, income, etc. It doesn’t really hurt us. But I’d like to see Louisville refocus on the school and academics.

    2. JTHinton

      Louisville has a pro team that’s going to likely play in the USL Cup final. Check out Lou City FC for anyone who wants Louisville to recover economically. Very fun and amazing atmosphere and probably the best team in the Eastern Conference and top three league wide. Promo code KSR take $$ off tix

    3. Eazy

      I know. I mean a top level pro team. Not minor league. They need an NBA, NFL, or MLB team. If they can’t get that…MLS or NHL. Can’t be considered a big city with 0 of the above.

    4. BBNBRIAN

      As a U of L alum I have wondered when I could sue the University for devaluing my degree. Agreed, those students were on to something, but were placing the blame on the wrong people. Unforunately suing the University wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans since THEY HAVE NO MONEY! The impacts of this investigation will surly impact the entire state, but at least we’ll get some UK games in Louisville now!

    5. Jester

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the state. People like Jones who have been in Louisville too long are prone to overstate its importance to the Commonwealth, especially if your metric for that importance is UL sports. I can assure you UPS and Ford, to name two organizations, are not the least bit worried about the idiots at Loserville breaking the law yet again. It’s sort of expected from a dirty commuter school filled with low-class trash. I’m glad this happened to UL, and unlike some hypocrites who trash Louisville non-stop then suddenly decide we “need” Louisville basketball when the program gets caught, I’m excited to see how hard they get hammered. I hope it destroys their program and takes Pitino, Jurich, and a host of others down too. Now if we can only figure out a way to tie UNC to this, my week will be complete.

      To Hell with Louisville. They talked mad shit even though they could never back it up, now they get to enjoy the results of that trash talking when the feds bring the pain.

    6. Sentient Third Eye

      Cleaning house will be the best thing that has ever happened to the University of Louisville. Think of the school as an apartment with a backed-up sewer. You’re not going to be able to rent that unit until you clean up the crap. Once you do, however, it will be possible to get respectable people to want to live in it again.

    7. cattycat

      It is the surrounding businesses of the Yum center that I am concerned about. Although there are other events that bring business, not enough business for them to be paying enough in their revenue tax to pay their cost of the Yum Center. I don’t have time to find the details, but part of the problem with the Yum deal was that the businesses were expecting more revenue from attendance at Yum events, and then more taxes paid to the city. That hasn’t been happening. If UL gets death penalty, it will be really bad for the businesses down there. We need a pro team.

      And to all UK fans, please remember, there are THOUSANDS of us in Louisville, and we LOVE our city.

    8. Eazy

      Exactly, you need a real pro team more now than ever.

    9. Sentient Third Eye

      Cleaning house is the best thing for Louisville’s economy, too, because it will allow the program to quickly become healthy again in a few years, instead of continuing to rot on the vine with people disrespecting the city by association and mocking any diploma from a school defined by payoffs and hookers. I would imagine that a citizen of Louisville would demand better than that.

    10. Eazy

      You’re right about that. Louisville could’ve avoided this two years ago. Keeping Rick and Jurich hurt them. They just didn’t see it. And the ACC absolutely regrets adding Louisville. There has been lots of chatter about the possibility of removing them. It’s mostly because of this but many didn’t want them in the first place because it’s by far the worst school in the power 5.

  33. Deezee420

    Comeuppance? Dammit Matt, I had to look that up. Why didn’t you just say punishment?

    1. cattycat

      because comeuppance is a better description than punishment. It means humbling/humiliation with it.

  34. KatsKlaws

    Good lord, I hope Matt doesn’t use the word schadenfreude tommorrow (even though it would be appropriate) …I think some folks head might explode.

  35. Kevin C

    I’m too worried about what other coaches and schools the FBI are currently investigating, to be able to enjoy gloating about this. Cal’s involvement with Worldwide Wes and the entourage of celebs…most of whom also have connections to WWW, has always made me uneasy.

    1. BBNBRIAN

      Agreed

    2. 4everUKblue

      If they had anything on Cal they would have gotten him long ago. They have tried for years to catch him at something.

  36. chris43

    Poor little Ricky….he wanted to coach one of the “big boys” like Cal and by hell was so jealous was gonna do it even if he had pay him! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  37. keyserky

    Well written! You were very fair in this article. KudosπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

  38. IAmTheDanger

    Good thoughts Matt but I don’t happen to share your view on the sympathy for the u of l fan base. Sorry, but I feel absolutely no sympathy whatsoever. On multiple occasions, they have chosen to look the other way and defend all the transgressions of their “athletic program”….win at all costs became their tramp stamp. And all the while, calling out UK and Calipari and how they would have the biggest celebration when we got caught cheating. They have always been rude, obnoxious, loud hood rats. So, excuse me while i enjoy watching their slow demise into obscurity.

    1. Jester

      Matt doesn’t spend much time in reality, preferring to hate on Louisville then believe we can all hold hands and be friends and say “oh I didn’t mean all that stuff I said in the past, good luck in the future.”

      You and I and a large majority of other Cats fans on the other hand, are going to enjoy watching a truly hated rival get what it deserves.

      I hate Louisville sports, have no respect for their supporters, and I don’t have some newfound sympathy for the fan base that acted like their shit didn’t stink for the last 8-10 years.

      Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

    2. IAmTheDanger

      πŸ‘Œ

  39. rickshelton

    Very sad and disappointed. The bottom line shows greedy adults taking advantage of kids with little regard for potential harm to all involved.

  40. BBNBRIAN

    I wonder if Pitino will flip off the crowd on his way out at U of L?

    1. Mathlete

      That really will be good last moments in Rupp, too. What a disgraceful way to go out of the place that made your career what it is.

  41. UKLugo

    Back to NY with you, Rick! You’ve use and abuse the state of KY for long enough.

  42. catheaven

    Very well written article, Matt. I’ve printed it off. If today turns out as I hope, this baby will be framed and hanging in my office to be read over and over again.

  43. ukblue22

    This investigation coincides rather closely with the 5Star kid from WKU enrolling and then Withdrawing without explanation. Could this be connected in some way?

    1. Mathlete

      It’s also possible that he’s just a head case, but yeah it does seem weird that Rick Barnes left an Adidas school (A&M) and suddenly hauls in a top 10 recruiting class to a non-power 5 school with no recent history of success

  44. UK1983

    stick to sports. oh wait . … They should have fired him last year. ridiculous. but the house leaks from the roof – they will not be “fixed” until Jurich is gone too.

  45. tstigers01

    Best read in a while