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Doctor wrote Rick Pitino a letter in 1995, Rick Pitino responded

Way back in 1995, when Rick Pitino was the head coach at the University of Kentucky, Dr. David Kinnaird of Louisville wrote Pitino a letter expressing concerns with Walter McCarty’s diet. In Kinnaird’s words, he was “appalled” after reading about the “inappropriate treatment of a fine, college basketball player, Walter McCarty.”

Pitino was trying to bulk McCarty up to be a stronger presence inside for the Wildcats and Doc Kinnaird wasn’t a fan of his method:

This ill-advised excess feeding schedule (including alarming quantities of potentially harmful flips-cholesterol) to bring his weight to a predetermined game weight may well be deleterious to his general health by exposing him to later endocrine, physiologic, and cardiovascular disorders — as well as possible disturbing psychologic derrangements. How much emotional stress can be brought to bear on a healthy, competitive, student athlete whose every waking hour (except for basketball practice sessions) is filled with the pressure to eat copious, repetitive meals?

It is my fervent wish that you abandon this insensitive handling of a fine young man for the good of basketball in general, the UK basketball program and Walter McCarty, in particular.

Pitino received the letter and promptly mailed it back to Kinnaird with his own annotations.

Now fast forward to today and we’ve obtained a copy of the letter from Kinnaird’s grandson, complete with Walter McCarty’s autograph from a signing after college:


Some of Pitino’s better annotations include:

— “Dear David, Get a life!”

— “Thanks for the medical help we don’t need.”

— “Please don’t write again, you are boring me and wasting value time with your gibberish.”

— “You need a checkup mentally! You should not be handling patients.”

In Pitino’s defense, I’m sure the staff knew exactly what they were doing with McCarty’s nutrition, as he points out in his rebuttal. He also notes that it was all “good-natured fun” and he was “joking” in whatever report/comments Kinnaird was so upset over.

If anyone has one of those Microfilm readers or a stack of old Courier-Journals laying around, throw us a bone and send us what Pitino said that got Kinnaird all worked up.

Until then, you are boring me and wasting value time with your gibberish. Get a life.

*** UPDATE ***

99 times out of 100, if you ask the internet for a favor, the internet will oblige. Thanks to a KSR reader in a library, we now have a copy of the Courier-Journal article that sparked the letter to Pitino:


Okay, Doc had a point. According to the story, McCarty was devouring almost 11,000 calories a day, beginning with French toast, sausage biscuits, bacon, pancakes, four ounces of syrup and 20 ounces of juice, and ending with six slices of pizza as a bedtime snack.

Pitino refused to start McCarty until he ballooned up to 230 pounds. “I’m fed up with it,” he said of McCarty failing to meet weight.

I guess it worked.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

6 Comments for Doctor wrote Rick Pitino a letter in 1995, Rick Pitino responded

  1. chase
    2:09 pm May 21, 2015 Permalink

    I LOVE this response. Go 90’s Pitino! He was so much cooler back then. That doc has way too much time on his hands. Pretty cool that he got it autographed by Walter tho.
    -chase, MD

    • UK Big Board Update
      6:23 pm May 21, 2015 Permalink

      I agree with your comment 2 tho.
      -UK Big Board Update, M.D.

  2. nuke99m
    2:16 pm May 21, 2015 Permalink

    One of Pitinos old coaches shows did a segment on trying to put weight on Walter and take it off of Nazr. I bet it was from that. Nazr was eating salads and Walter was eating thick french toast soaked in butter and these nurition shakes.

  3. dhighdrated
    2:25 pm May 21, 2015 Permalink

  4. ukbradstith
    3:08 pm May 21, 2015 Permalink

    If anybody could find a segment of the Rick pitino show that goes over this, please post. Bill “mr. Wildcat” Keightly and Walter talked about all the food that he was eating and it was absolutely hillarious. Still remember that segment to this day. I think that is what nuke99 m is referring to, but I’m pretty sure this was pre-Nazr days. The old Rick pitino show really was fantastic.

  5. Shawn
    6:23 pm May 21, 2015 Permalink

    I think Pitino and the staff needed some advice. If your trying to put on healthy weight to play sports, 6 slices of pizza before bed, an absurd amount of syrup and sausage biscuits Is not the way to do It. We have learned so much In the last 20 years about what happens to things we put In our bodies.