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Do you still consider Rick Pitino to be “ours”?

Much like a tattoo of a woman’s name on your chest makes you hers forever, (or until you meet someone else who loves Mt. Dew as much as you do) Rick Pitino’s decision to tattoo Louisville on his back felt like the final nail in the coffin. Pitino belongs to Louisville now. Or so it seems, anyway. Pitino hasn’t coached at the University of Kentucky for 16 years. The amount of time away from Lexington and the hallowed halls of Rupp Arena isn’t the point of debate or even an issue. Plenty of coaches give their time, energy and heart to a university before moving on to something else, whether it be another team or another walk of life. Much can be debated about Pitino and his legacy in the blue and white, but his efforts to bring Kentucky basketball out of a dark shadow and back into the spotlight on the way to one of the school’s treasured national championships, cannot be disregarded or downplayed. The rafters are a little cozier because of Pitino, and for that, we can all agree we are grateful.

Adolp Rupp is ours, and will always be ours. He has an arena named after him and enough hardware to warrant a bigger trophy case. Joe B. Hall is ours, and has stayed ours, continuing to be an ever-present figure in Lexington. Everything about Joe B. Hall drips with Kentucky tradition. Tubby Smith is ours too, whether you agree or not, in large part because he spent the bulk of his career at Kentucky and also won a national title. Although the ties might not be as strong as with Rupp and with Hall, Smith’s ties are certainly not stronger anywhere else. But what about Rick Pitino? Do you still consider Pitino to be “ours?” Or, in the words of Don McLean, when was “the day the music died?” When was the moment when Pitino stopped being the most closely associated with Kentucky basketball?

…Was it when he chose to leave Kentucky for the Boston Celtics?

I think as Kentucky fans, we all felt the sting of Pitino’s departure for the NBA. After all, he was coming off of two of the most exciting and successful back-to-back seasons in Kentucky basketball history, with another promising one on the horizon. One year out from a national championship, and just a few weeks removed from a runner-up finish, and Pitino bolted for the Boston Celtics and the chance to boost his resume’ and ego at the NBA level. While the pill was bitter and hard to swallow, especially considering the potential for an absolute college basketball dynasty that was clearly sitting in the palm of his hands… Pitino wasn’t leaving us for another college basketball program. Pitino was taking a “step up” that plenty of college basketball coaches before him have taken.

I would venture to say that at that point, disappointment aside, most people would still almost whole-heartedly claim Pitino.

…Was it when Pitino took the Louisville job?

The writing was on the wall for Pitino to return to college basketball. His stint with the Celtics was short-lived and short on success as well. Pitino’s return to the ground that made him was inevitable. But he could have gone anywhere else and it would have been less of a blow than him choosing Kentucky’s in-state and arguably biggest rival, Louisville. Pitino crawled in bed a booth with the enemy and very little about the situation seemed to sit right with Kentucky fans. Pitino could have picked other opportunities, but he chose Louisville. He chose to be right down the road and right in the faces of the fan base he left not so long ago. A team he once went toe-to-toe with as a Wildcat, he was now pouring his heart into and trying to out-dual Kentucky with…

I think Pitino lost the adoration of quite a few Kentucky fans with this move. Still, plenty of fans still appreciated what he did for Kentucky and tried to separate the two eras.

…Was it when it became clear that Pitino was going to be staying at Louisville for a long time?

All coaches come into a new job at a school promising to stay loyal to that university for the long haul. If the college coaching carousel has taught us anything, it is that we should take these passionate words spoken early on with a grain of salt. Some believed that Pitino might be using Louisville as a stepping stone, either for a different college head coaching job or for another go at the NBA. When the years continued to pass, and Pitino was still raising L’s, it became obvious that he probably wasn’t going to be leaving any time soon.

The longer Pitino stayed at Louisville, I think the harder it became to remember his association with and link him heavily to Kentucky.

…Was it when he embarrassed himself (the major one…there have been plenty of smaller embarrassments)?

When the whole Karen Sypher thing went down, I remember being glad that Pitino was more closely associated with Louisville than with his Kentucky background. That’s your mess to clean up, Tom Jurich. Not ours.

…Was it when he won a national championship with Louisville?

For the longest time, it was starting to look like Pitino might not take Louisville to the coveted promise land by winning a national title. Louisville fans had been crowing about how Pitino would bring them at least one title in his career, but a few years ago that seemed like a fading possibility. In the last 2 years, Pitino has rejuvenated his coaching career and climbed his way back to the top. The argument, “well, his only national championship came with Kentucky” no longer stands. He has one title with each now, and that might be how it all sits when the dust finally settles on his career. With one title a piece, the tug of war about which school his career would be associated with could potentially still be up for debate.

I think the length of his stay at Louisville, along with the national title, just about sealed the deal on Pitino belonging to Louisville in the end.

…Was it when he got a “champ stamp” Louisville tattoo on his awkward looking back?

As the popular rap artist Drake says, “tat my f*ckin name on you so I know it’s real.”  If any doubt about who Pitino belonged to still remained, I think last week’s tattoo probably erased it.

…Or do you still consider Rick Pitino to be “ours”?

Are you one of the people who is able to completely separate his time at Kentucky from his time at Louisville? Will he always be a Wildcat in your heart? I do believe some Kentucky fans will always feel loyalty to Pitino and not have any part of that be tainted by his association with Louisville.


Personally, Rick Pitino hasn’t really felt like “ours” to me in a long time. Twenty years from now though, I did wonder how Pitino’s career would mostly be remembered. I’m still not exactly sure, and the rest remains unwritten– but he certainly feels like Louisville’s right now. And you know what? I’m okay with that. He was once ours, and those were some of the most glorious days as a Kentucky fan. The time has passed, and we will forever be grateful. Thanks for the memories…

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

63 Comments for Do you still consider Rick Pitino to be “ours”?

  1. Eli
    8:04 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    When he left for the Celtics. It seemed to be his way of saying he thought more of a (at the time) bad NBA team than he did of the best collegiate team in history. I washed my hands of him at that point. Everything thereafter has just been a circus. I view his achievements now in the same way I view Louisville’s. They just help us look better due to the rivalry if they succeed, but if they fail, good. Who cares?

  2. Marvb
    8:06 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I’ve lost all respect for him. I actually pulled for him. A Wildcat Tat would be much more bad ass.

  3. HELL NO!
    8:07 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    He made his choice to go to the NBA. I get that. So we’re ok. Then he makes his choice to go to our most hated rival, that’s not ok. At that point he became the enemy. If you show your support to him then you are giving your support to his program & that is unacceptable from a true UK fan. He has made his choices, now its time for all of you riding the Pitino fence to make yours. Blue or red, what’s it gonna be?

  4. HesALiar
    8:08 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I too have lost respect for this cheating man! No, the Dirty Birds can have him. I wish he wasn’t even associated with UK anymore. We don’t need scum.

  5. Sick-of-Rick
    8:09 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Enough with the Rick s&/t……

  6. Kujo
    8:11 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    It is a dead horse that has been beaten to life. He lost my interest when he became a Card.

  7. rainman
    8:11 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    That ship sailed LOOOONG ago!
    NO, he’s not and never will be, “One of US”!

  8. shelbyjoe
    8:14 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Spintino was no longer a member of BBN the day he signed on with the Tards – only an egomaniacal idiot would do such a thing. he wanted attention, he got it; that’s all that was important to him.

  9. SpitUp
    8:15 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    STOP showing that picture. It’s GROSS! And, why are we wasting time on this tool?! Talk about what some of our former Cats are doing in the off season. Wasn’t Darius in Elizabethtown the other day?

  10. klassact32
    8:19 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I stopped liking him the day he said he built a foundation. Kentucky did not need a foundation built, Rupp did that. I stopped respecting him the day he took the Louisville job! He doesn’t get it and never did. He always thought he was bigger than UK and he never was, nor will be……

  11. Yngvie Malmsteen.
    8:20 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    What a dumb article.

  12. cape coral cat
    8:21 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    The minute he came back to coach a college team. It didn’t matter to me who it was!

  13. Bluegoose41
    8:21 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I know it’s a slow news day but come on. Is this topic really that interesting?????

  14. Big Blue Swagger
    8:22 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Pitino is bittersweet– I’m so grateful for what he brought to UK but I’ve NOT been a fan of his post-Celtics. It does make me sad that he made such an unfortunate decision to coach our most hated rival when he could have had ANY college job in the country. Time heals all wounds and I believe he will eventually be welcomed at UK as our former head coach (YEARS after the fact) but he will always have that “tainted” asterisk beside his name.

  15. Steve
    8:26 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    He was dead when he became a CAWD!

  16. KT34
    8:28 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Pitino is not ours and is this a site for UK sports? Lately there seems to be more talk about that other school.

  17. Sorenjo Gato
    8:29 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I know it’s been stated here several times recently, but I feel the need to vent a bit myself. Why is KSR (or at least some members of the writing staff) spending some much time and energy discussing a myriad of topics related primarily to one of UK’s biggest rivals?

    Many times on here I’ve read comments both from readers as well as staff and editors making fun of the ‘pathetic’ Lville fan base coming over to a UK fansite to spend their time and engage in debates that they simply cannot win based upon facts.

    However, now it appears that they should be welcomed since the majority of the recent posts on this site (excluding football and Wiggins)have been about THEIR team. I understand to a point, there’s a lot of history, a shared coach, and even cause to celebrate that the recent success of both teams has made our region the epicenter of college basketball. But, come on, enough is enough. Accept the fact that they won the title, are now more closely associated with Pitino, and had an overall better year across the board.

    Act like you’ve been here before. We all remember struggling through the end of Tubby’s tenure and the disaster that was the BCG experiment, but all of that pales in comparison to the bitching and moaning that is being done by this staff over the Cards.

    LET IT GO!!

  18. BlueTexan
    8:30 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Ricky Pitino was NEVER ours…he simply made a stop in Lexington to rebuild his image following his flame-out in NYC so he could eventually gain the Celtics job. He has NEVER been “One of Us”…too slick, unreliable and only “out” for Rick…just ask Joanne who never wanted to leave NY…and, really never did. Stop the Pitino tattoo pix…

  19. Indiana Tom
    8:36 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Who actually cares what Ricky P. does. Enough is enough!!

  20. Mike
    8:37 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    HELL NO, they can have him. I vote for changing the banner in Rupp to say Trader Rick instead of Pitino. ALSO PLEASE STOP POSTING THESE PICTURES!!!!!!!!!!! I throw up in my mouth every time I go to KSR and this hideous picture is here AGAIN!!!!. STOP PLEASE JUST STOP!!!!!!

  21. KC
    8:41 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    No, I have moved on and so should the writers for this site. Tired of the rp stories.

  22. Ares
    8:42 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    The day he signed on with Louisville I gave my dad a personalized signed Pitino’s Bombinos Kentucky shirt that I got when he came to Kentucky. I told him he is yours now I have no use for this. My Dad is a die hard card fan.

  23. CatSinceBirth
    8:44 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    He won a championship with UK, and I don’t see a tatoo of UK on his bony shoulders. Seems like a slam at UK. Let’s slam back by lowering him name from the rafters. While you’re up there, bring down Richie’s also.

  24. Grif
    8:45 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Please…. Can we just let it go already!! I wonder if the other teams he coached before UK are asking the same question. Not!

  25. West Lexington
    8:47 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Why does KSR continue to post these topics? This person has been gone for over 15 years, let him and the rest of the card birds GO!

    Support and report on the BBN and quit worrying about the city school down the road.

    Many of your long time KSR supporters are growing very tired of this .

  26. Sorenjo Gato
    8:49 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Judging by some of the recent comments, KSR is approaching “shark jumping” status when it comes to the city school down the road.

  27. Henrycocat
    8:52 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I just want to know what he is doing to that trophy! I hope he is not syphering it.

  28. SevenT
    8:53 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    When Pitino was at Kentucky it was a magical run. He was the right man for the job of rebuilding a powerhouse program like Kentucky that was saddled with probation.

    But lets face if folks Pitino got too big for his britches at Kentucky. Plus Pitino was a skirt chaser the whole time he was in Lex, which is embarassing for his family and the Kentucky program. Pitino actually thought he invented Kentucky Basketball and he certainly did nothing of the sort. Kentucky was winning Championships when Pitino was in dipers and Kentucky will be winning Championships when Pitino is 6 feet under.

    Just Saying

  29. Wild Blue
    8:53 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I said he is now the enemy 15 seconds after he signed with the dirty birds. Also, if you ever have a chance to speak with a Celtics fan that witnessed Pitino’s near distruction of that team it is worth a listen.

  30. Chad H
    8:54 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    As soon as he signed the dotted line to be UL’s coach he stopped being a part of UK IMO… Not to mention all of his negative comments since to appease the UL fanbase. They can keep him and his tattoo and his lady friends.

  31. Bob
    8:57 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I say take his banner down from the rafters and ship it to the chicken barn.

  32. Kenny H
    9:01 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    When Pitino took the UL job he became theirs forever. He did gain some respect back at Mr. Wildcat’s funeral for the great speech. However, now he is a L1C4 ever.

  33. KB
    9:03 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Why are we told we have to understand when our freshman players leave for the NBA because they will have a better life for themselves and their family rather than staying in school. Yet, we are told we must crucify Pitino because he left for the NBA and what he thought could be a better life for his family and him? He has said it was the biggest mistake of his career. What more do you want? Never to coach again? Ever think he loved his time in the commonwealth and that was why he wanted to return here? Tubby had the UK job so Pitino took the next best thing in Louisville. Pitino did so much for the UK program and it is a disgrace how soon so many forgot that.

  34. Curt D
    9:09 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    When Pitino hits on strange his genitals dont even claim him. Why would they, thats like saying “Hey girl, want Hep C?”

  35. Gt
    9:17 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    You ungrateful fans. You all watched as Pitno brought us back from the dead and you loved him for it. He left for the greatest pro team of all time. He was not born and raised in Ky. He always had nba roots. Pretty sure we knew that when we hired him. As far as being a turn coat, really you don’t think he would of come back to ky in a heartbeat, but he was loyal to one of his coaches tuby. He admitted that he did not want the louisvile job, even accepted the Michigan job. But again he gave in to his wife, bet know body’s ever done that right. Why did his wife want to move back to the state? Because she fell in love with the people. The same people that a blasting her family now. I love ky sports as much as anyone and at times obsess about it. Why, because I grew up wacthing ricks teams give every once on the court. So how can he not be ours? He is part of the reason I love ky basketball so much. And is a huge part of why we are the greatest program of all time, not the program that could of been but they went on probation and were never the same.

  36. Clay County Cat
    9:21 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    He is one of the top 5 basketball coaches on the planet. I have no ill will toward him.

  37. Buckets
    9:23 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    More Pitino/U of L talk???? MORE????? For the love of all things big and blue, give it a rest!!!!!!!!!

  38. JimmyC
    9:24 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Hey KB…I think I hear Pitino calling you to check his tat for infection. Get out of here. If you read the other posts you will see he was not crucified for leaving for the NBA. It was when he decided to help our most hated rival whip our A$$ at least once each year that true UK fans crossed him of their Christmas card list.

  39. busterqbundy
    9:25 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    He ceased being ours the moment he took the Louisville job.

  40. Steve
    9:30 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    How will he be remembered? As a helluva coach

  41. raekwon
    9:33 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Well, he is my all-time favorite UK coach (too young to have watched Rupp or Hall) He russurected the damn basketball program. His first two teams couldn’t go to the postseason and they are two of my favorite non-title KY squads.

  42. Chaz
    9:42 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I was looking for a Bill Lee (Boston Red Sox pitcher nicknamed Bill Spaceman Lee) about “is that all there is” in reference to his fastball and all these inane RP posts. Had to stop after remembering all the crazy stuff he said. He is truly a forgotten American sports treasure. Some quotes:

    1-“Hell, if KY jelly went off the market, the whole California Angels pitching staff would be out of baseball.”
    2-“I’m mad at Hank (Aaron) for deciding to play one more season. I threw him his last home run and thought I’d be remembered forever. Now, I’ll have to throw him another.”
    3-“People are too hung up on winning. I can get off on a really good helmet throw.”
    4-“The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties I tested everything.

    Matt, see what you missed growing up without baseball?

  43. Han
    9:44 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Winning the title at Louisville really gave him the choice as to which school he’d want to be associated with at the end of his coaching career. Getting the tattoo moves him strongly to UL’s side.

    Had he never won one at UL, I think he’d have come back to the UK side, wanting to be remembered for winning the title in ’96. Now he has a legacy worth mentioning at UL too.

    Oh, he may try to play it like he’s part of both “nations,” but at the end of the day, when he retires, he’ll only be able to pick one school that he “belongs” to, and I think now it will be UL. They can keep him, since he chose to go there. We’ll always appreciate what he did here, but we’ve got a new leader who will hopefully not leave and come back to a rival.

  44. Bballdoc
    9:46 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, we are all old and gray, everyone will remember that the ’96 UK team put Rick on the map.

  45. Bballdoc
    9:48 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Yes, we are all old and gray, everyone will remember that the ’96 UK team put Rick on the path to the hall of fame

  46. Tom Blevins
    9:56 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t think Rick Pitino ever considered himself one of us. He paid lip service and he got a lot of wins at Kentucky, but he was a gun for hire, nothing more. Does he consider himself part of the Louisville Cardnal family now? I don’t know and I don’t care.

  47. Doubting Thomas
    10:07 pm April 30, 2013 Permalink

    Get off the Loserville and Pitino kick!! I have to agree with those that say he was never one of us. I can remember when he made fun of our players and said he couldn’t understand them because of their accents. Forget this guy please, he isn’t worth the time it takes to write this response………………….

  48. Enough Said
    1:32 am May 1, 2013 Permalink


  49. Mark
    1:44 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    He is not “ours” anymore! Rick Pitino belongs to the Louisville Cardinals. John Calipari and his family belong to the Kentucky Wildcats and The BBN. GO BIG BLUE!!!!

  50. blue dano
    2:45 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    Some of my best memories of time spent with my dad were watching Pitino and his teams. Some very good teams duringhis time here. I hate that he is a dirty bird but i thank him for the memories

  51. Take It Down
    5:50 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    As long as we have his jersey in our rafters, we claim him. He holds the highet honor Kentucky basketball gives, a jersey hanging in the world famous Rupp Arena. That was the biggest mistake in UK history because it means nothing to him.

  52. bleedblueky
    7:27 am May 1, 2013 Permalink


  53. BurnerTurner5
    7:46 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    When he left for Boston he was crap to me. He had all he needed in Lexington. He was on the verge of building a Coach K like dynasty. But year after year, he was ALWAYS looking for something else. So screw him and his ugly tatt!

  54. catfan013
    8:18 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    When he went to the…that other school I took everything I had with his name on it including an autographed picture and basketball, out back pissed on them then burnt them. I think if Barnhart cared about the fans he would do the same with the banner in RUPP. Pinto can go to L.

  55. Dave
    8:24 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    When Dirty Rick lied to the Big Blue Nation when he took the Celtics job I wrote him off.

  56. Bill
    8:35 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I LOVE KSR, but good lord, enough with all this Pitino sh*t. Every other freakin article is about him. Listen closely KSR bloggers…WE HAVE CAL!! CAL > Pitino! Let it go, and stop making us look like a bunch of groveling, spurned former girlfriends that can’t move on. The rest of BBN can’t stand him, and you don’t represent the majority. Maybe some of you should start a UL fan site; then you could write about Pitinoto you hearts content!

  57. lou eaton
    8:46 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    #17 has it right. We were in the tank prior to his arrival and no matter what you think of him now it is a fact that he lifted us out and brought back the program with exciting BB. The KSR staff needs to just “shut up” and concentrate on where UK is going right now! This constant BS of pounding on Pitino serves zero purpose and most genuine KY fans had rather have UK and UL winning National Championships than PUKE and UNC………….

  58. lou eaton
    8:48 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    17 has it right. Let’s let this Pitino BS go and move on. Most genuine UK fans recognize what he did for the program, are not happy he left BUT most would rather have UK and UL winning NCs than PUKE and UNC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  59. Dumbledore
    9:12 am May 1, 2013 Permalink


  60. Mike
    9:30 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    Geez, you guys are obsessed with Ricky P.

  61. Big Blue Coming At You
    9:32 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    When Pitino took the UL job, he was dead to me. Getting that UL tattoo is like the mark of the beast.

  62. Josh Harrelson
    10:17 am May 1, 2013 Permalink

    He has nice boobs!

  63. Dee W.
    6:26 pm May 1, 2013 Permalink

    I have prodded U of L fans before by referring to Pitino when he is going to be somewhere not as the U of L coach, but as the “former UK Coach.”

    He will definitely always be a big part of our history with a lot of good memories. That said, Tubby Smith needs to have a jersey in Rupp in his honor alongside the other championship coaches. If someone who has now not only coached longer at our #1 arch rival than he did for us and had their logo permanently scarred into his body can have one hanging there, then certainly Tubby Smith is deserving.