Generally, the day after a holiday weekend is supposed to be a slow news day, one where not much happens, and you can ease back into your normal routine after three-and-a-half days of overindulging on food, drink and college football.
Not this Labor Day Tuesday though, as Rick Pitino released his new book and with it, came the expected media onslaught that followed. Pitino had some pre-planned interviews with some of the bigger media companies out there, with plenty of appearances to come (everybody set your DVR for Good Morning America Wednesday!). And as they always do, my colleagues here at KSR have kept you up to date on just about everything Pitino has said and done today, including a book review from my buddy Drew Franklin that was so thorough even Oprah was a tiny bit jealous.
Still, of all the things Pitino said on Tuesday, one of the most interesting things went relatively under-reported. It came in an interview with ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
There, Pitino basically admitted to something that the rest of us have known for a while: That he will never coach major, Division I basketball again.
“There was one job this past year, that I really did want. They called the NCAA and the NCAA said, ‘We’re handcuffed. The FBI will not allow us to investigate, we can’t give you a yes or no on Rick Pitino because we’re not allowed to investigate,'” Pitino said. “I’m not really thinking about coaching again in the future because I’m not in control of that. I feel it’s over for me.”
Ultimately this isn’t a shot at Pitino, but the reality of the mess he’s created. The FBI thing Pitino references is a fascinating twist on the whole thing, with the NCAA basically saying “You can’t hire him until we get more details.” But even if we do get those details, and even if he is somehow cleared of any wrongdoing in this case, with all of the burden falling on his assistant coaches (as he claims) I can still say with near certainty that no AD will risk their career by hiring him going forward.
Because ultimately that’s what an AD would be doing by hiring Pitino: Putting their career on the line by putting their faith in him. Is that something that anyone with half a brain, or heck, the ability to search Google is going to do?
I doubt it.
As I said throughout the college basketball coaching carousel last year, the simple truth is that most AD’s are just guys and girls that – like the rest of us – are trying to keep their jobs. Remember, most AD’s at big-time schools have been working 20 or 30 years to get to a big-time job, with a big-time payday (top AD’s make well over $1 million a year). AD’s at smaller schools are doing their best to grind their way up the ladder where they can one day have one of those $1 million a year kind of jobs.
While the quickest way to get one of those jobs is to have success (which Pitino will certainly bring), the quickest way to lose one of those jobs (and ensure you never get another one) is to get in trouble with the NCAA. And while there’s no guarantee that hiring Rick Pitino will bring problems with the NCAA (remember, as Pitino has told us many times, he was never found personally accountable in the Katina Powell and Brian Bowen cases) history tells us that if Pitino is there, NCAA trouble will follow. Even if he is a Hall of Famer, is any AD really willing to put his or her career on the line with the baggage that Pitino brings? I doubt it.
That’s also why I never bought the rumors when Pitino was reportedly a “candidate” for the Georgia head coaching job.
As I told you Saturday: Rick Pitino is going to "leak" his name to every media member he knows. Good for him. But no major conference AD will hire this off-season, or ever, probably https://t.co/Zw3rEcTZi8
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 12, 2018
Or the Rhode Island job.
There are Rick Pitino rumors at Rhode Island? OF COURSE there are Rick Pitino rumors at Rhode Island. As Ive told you before: Aint happening https://t.co/IW0F6bboL6
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 24, 2018
Or pretty much any job that was rumored to be interested in him (that tweet is dripping in sarcasm, for those of you who didn’t follow).
Rick Pitino was ABSOLUTELY a candidate at UConn. As well as Pitt, Georgia, Ole Miss, UC-Riverside, the Jets' starting quarterback job and the fifth pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds rotation. https://t.co/dEKlmTL61Z
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) March 19, 2018
The risk doesn’t outweigh the reward.
It never will.
You never say never, but I feel pretty comfortable saying never here: Rick Pitino will never coach major college basketball again.