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Rick Pitino believes John Calipari is a “lifer” at Kentucky because UK is “the best job in basketball”

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

After being hired as the next head coach at Iona, Rick Pitino is doing his part to get back in the national spotlight, build his image, and mend some fences.

More specifically, it appears he’s trying to earn brownie points with the Big Blue Nation.

Right after his hiring became official, the former Louisville and Kentucky head coach jumped on The Dan Patrick Show to say he was interested in scheduling a game with John Calipari and the Wildcats in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

“I may schedule, if John — I spoke to Cal, he was nice enough to call me,” Pitino said. “I would love to schedule Kentucky in the Garden in the Jimmy V Classic. I think that would be a great draw and that would be exciting to see and I hope John would entertain that.”

As an added bonus, also made it clear he is not interested in playing Louisville anytime soon.

“No,” he said. “How quick was that answer?”

In an interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post published this afternoon, Pitino continued his praise of Calipari and the Kentucky basketball program.

When asked how Calipari compared to legendary coach and friend Larry Brown, the new Iona coach said both had a tendency to “move different places,” but said the former is now a “lifer” at Kentucky.

“Well, they’re close friends, and they’re both brilliant coaches,” he said. “They both have had a tendency to move to different places, although John will be a lifer at Kentucky. They both grew up loving the game, have great passion for the game.”

With various reports and rumors suggesting Calipari would be interested in taking the New York Knicks coaching job if offered, Pitino noted that the Kentucky head coach is happy where he is, as he should be.

Why? Calipari has “the best job in all of basketball.”

“I really don’t [think he will leave],” Pitino said of the UK head coach. “I think when you coach at Kentucky, you have the premier job in college basketball — in terms of he can recruit any player he wants, he has unbelievable facilities, he’s gonna win his 30 games every year, and he’s got the best job in all of basketball.”

In fact, Pitino thinks Calipari is “smarter than [him]” in that regard.

“So I’m not sure why he would ever want to have a job that’s not the best job in all of basketball,” the former Kentucky coach and current Iona coach said. “He’s smarter than me when it comes to that.”

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

35 Comments for Rick Pitino believes John Calipari is a “lifer” at Kentucky because UK is “the best job in basketball”



  1. Realme
    9:49 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    Rick is starting to sound like an almost sane almost human. Seems like the time away did him some good.



  2. ukkatzfan
    9:50 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    Tell coach 2 that if UK was a female there would be stalking protection order out against him. After he left U6, it really has even gotten more creepy.



  3. Bluebloodtoo
    9:54 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    Man! Now my butt is all wet from all that kissing. Geez P, keep it to yourself.



  4. dan1965
    10:22 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    (In fact, Pitino thinks Calipari is “smarter than [him]” in that regard.)
    Finally Pittino says something I can agree with him on !



  5. Arch Stanton
    10:37 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    I have no doubt that we would have at least 3 to 5 more titles here if Rick had stayed. Just tragic all the way around…the guys ego altered both our trajectories. There was never a year when he was coach that I didn’t feel like we were legit contenders.



    • mashburnfan1
      1:40 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      Arch can’t really blame him for leaving. Don’t think it was ego, it was the insane amount of money that Boston gave him. At that time it was unheard of. RP has often said he made a mistake leaving. I agree with you we would have multiple titles from 98 to now had he stayed. Really think we would be all time leader in titles.



    • Bluehender
      7:41 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      Where’s lexingtonattorney when you need him? Objection…speculation



    • millertim
      9:07 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      Couldn’t agree more!! Watching that 1992 regional finals again yesterday on CBS just reaffirmed my faith in Coach Pitino. To many UK fans he committed the unpardonable sin of returning to college coaching at the ONE place that was unacceptable… that said, he’s an incredible game coach!



    • 4everUKBlue
      11:28 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      No one, not even mashtradumbass can say he’d have more titles for sure, although we all know how he likes to fantasize about it due to his love for Rick and his hatred for Cal. I’m glad he left before he lost all his morals, now we have a coach with integrity. One who doesn’t cheat on his wife, didn’t get a bj under the table in public restaurant, didn’t use hookers to lure underage recruits while on probation for other rules violations and who to this day has never been directly linked to either of the incidents at UMass or Memphis. I’m grateful for what Rick did while he’s here, but thank god and Boston he’s gone.



    • KYCat4EVER
      5:03 pm March 22, 2020 Permalink

      SPOT ON Arch!

      Every person has mistakes they make in life: Rick Pitino, like all of us, has made his.

      But U.K. should schedule a Super Bowl Sunday 1:00 pm game with IONA at Rupp Arena … bring back the 1996 National Championship Team… and honor that team and Rick Pitino with total class and ceremony!

      To miss this opportunity in 2020-21 season is a major UK mistake we should not make!

      GO BIG BLUE



  6. BigBlueFoo42777
    10:58 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    Pitino left a team behind that even Billy Clyde could have won a championship with. Even with all the dumb shit he has done it’s hard to remember a time that uk basketball was so fun to watch as the rebuild he was part of.



  7. Newtype
    11:15 pm March 21, 2020 Permalink

    I’m hear for the redemption and make up with UK of Pitino.



  8. 8XChamps
    12:28 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    I personally don’t have a problem with Rick. If it weren’t for all the baggage & Cal decided to leave, I think he would be the “best coach” to hire.



  9. friendsofcoal
    3:19 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Although I don’t have a problem with him either. He’s competitive as hell and always wanted to beat us and rarely ever could and that’s why he flipped us off and so on. I don’t take that personally. I would welcome him back to Rupp to a standing ovation anytime but I don’t want him back on our staff in any form or fashion.



  10. rube
    6:13 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Too bad Rick wasn’t a lifer at UK, maybe we would win another championship. I would trade Cal to get Rick any day. Rick was the best coach in basketball. Maybe he didn’t recruit as well as Cal but under Rick I felt like we always had a shot of winning it all. With Cal I think he’s about like tubby, sure we’ll make the tournament every year but there’s no way in hell we’ll ever win it again.



  11. Racerr11
    7:45 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Cal 9 little Ricki boy 2 during Cal’s time at UK. Rick can’t carry Cal’s jock strap . Cal best coach in the country hands down. Goofy fans



    • millertim
      9:11 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      No need to tear down Coach Pitino to build up Coach Cal. I love both coaches and thrilled both coached our beloved Cats! BTW I’m still not over the Wisconsin loss in 2015— how can you have a team LOADED with NBA talent at every position and NOT beat a team with one 4 star recruit????



    • 4everUKBlue
      11:32 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      I guess the same way you can lose to dook with 2.2 secs on the clock by not guarding the guy inbounding the ball.



    • peaches76
      11:52 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      That’s a bit harsh. If you compare the talent on both teams we shouldn’t have been close.



  12. Racerr11
    7:47 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Rick got 0 championships in 15 years at loserville he’s a dandy.



    • millertim
      9:13 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      He has the same number of NCAA championships at Louisville as Coach Cal has at UK. They won that title fair and square in 2013— NCAA screwed them! They won the title on the floor and every team they beat knows that. NCAA may have taken away their title but Pitino still won!!



    • 4everUKBlue
      11:34 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      Last I checked Cal won one at UK and Pitino had one stripped for cheating. But I guess cheating to win at all costs is ok with you, I prefer to win with integrity or not win at all. Rick screwed UofLittleBrother, not the NCAA.



  13. M_BOLDen
    8:06 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    He’s really trying to bond that bridge… so to speak



  14. kyle heavy
    8:13 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Wow, we truly have some insane fans saying they would take Rick over Cal. 0 ships at Louisville and responsible for the two most disgusting scandals to happen in college basketball in recent memory (Sypher and Katina Powell). Not to mention the litany of other questionable things that went on there under his “leadership.”



  15. Wyman70
    8:30 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Is anyone else getting sick of all the ad pop-ups on this site now? GEEZE…!!!



  16. BobbyBlue
    9:35 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    I don’t understand how the hell RP is even allowed to coach a college team, and without even a show cause penalty. Oh, OK, it’s the corrupt NCAA run by a clueless POS that makes a carefully concealed $4 mill a year.



    • Fitz
      10:01 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

      The “show and cause” is still a possibility, a risk a win hungry Iona is more than willing to take. If UK ever schedules a RP coached Iona, it better be sooner than latter.



    • ClutchCargo
      12:04 pm March 22, 2020 Permalink

      It’s because the investigation that will probably result in a show cause hasn’t happened yet.

      Anybody else suspect that the NCAA might take advantage of the COVID-19 opportunity to go easy on the adidas stuff because of the additional economic hardship it would cause for the communities of those schools?



  17. Racerr11
    9:52 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Fair and square, illegal players on that team so nowhere close to fair and square. Recordbooks show 2 NCAA championships for loserville. 1980, 1986, just saying. Not putting down any coach it is what it is. 9-2. Rick could not win 1997 championship with the same players Tubby won 1998 with but Tubby was minus couple of NBA players who left after 1997.



  18. Racerr11
    9:53 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    Fact not fiction?



  19. Kerosenerag
    10:13 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    There is a time for all things under heaven……as yes a time for forgiveness. BBN needs to at least contemplate that. Rick is kinda like that family member that does the stupid stuff and gets excommunicated from the family. Forgive and move on will make you feel better….it just wi



  20. mcp157
    10:14 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    He should run for office. Always changing his tune to the appropriate situation that benefits him. Great, great coach but a big BS artist.



  21. Kerosenerag
    10:19 am March 22, 2020 Permalink

    There is a time for all things under heaven……and yes a time for forgiveness. BBN needs to at least contemplate this. Rick is kinda like that family member who messes it all up and is excommunicated. I vote for forgiveness myself and all the rest has a choice to make. Go Big Blue