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The Ringer: Will Pitino be remembered at Louisville for the title or leaving the program in wreckage?

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

What a whirlwind 48 hours. What was once seen as a week to drown in our sorrows following the Florida loss developed into the biggest scandal in the history of college sports, with Rick Pitino as the face of it.

Pitino and Louisville AD Tom Jurich were both “effectively fired” this morning, but what happens next?

The Ringer’s Mark Titus wrote a column to answer the question of the hour:

“Will he be remembered more for lifting the program to a national title or for leaving it in a heap of wreckage after a glaringly scandal-ridden tenure?”

What will Pitino’s legacy be after the dust settles?

It remains to be seen what Pitino’s enduring legacy will be. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and paint him as the personification of what’s wrong with college sports, which isn’t to say that I want to make any excuses for the man. Pitino is a morally bankrupt coward who deserves every ounce of his comeuppance and who shouldn’t be allowed near a college basketball bench for the rest of his life. His latest scandal isn’t the most appalling of his tenure, but it’s a major scandal nonetheless–and likely to be major in the NCAA’s eyes. At some point even the most deluded university administrators realize that winning can only make up for so much.

According to Titus, today is a day we celebrate John Calipari for “outrunning his reputation as a cheater.”

Pitino likely won’t be the only major college basketball coach to get the boot in the aftermath of the FBI’s probe, and it’s possible that if the investigation touches enough universities, it could eventually implicate other top-tier coaches. But that’s not why Cal is worth mentioning here. On a day when Pitino’s coaching career probably ended for good, it’s striking to reflect on how much has changed over the last eight and a half years. There are lots of rumors that attempt to link Calipari to scandal, but he’s dodged them and carved out a legacy as the coach who revolutionized the one-and-done game and who produces draft picks like clockwork. Cal rubs people the wrong way, but he’s outrun his reputation as a cheater (for the most part) and is seen as one of the sport’s most influential coaches.

To conclude, Titus says Pitino’s sleaziness has overtaken his coaching success in the long run.

It’s often said that great coaches in college sports rarely go out on their own terms. Pitino, who went a combined 770-271 over his NCAA tenure, is the latest example. As recently as a few years ago, he was seen as Hall of Fame coach who also happened to be sleazy. Now, he’s seen as a Hall of Fame sleazeball who also happened to be a winning coach.

Above all else, the program he built up starting in 2001 may never recover from the events that occurred under his watch.

His reputation is forever tarnished, and the program he built may never recover from the transgressions that happened under his watch.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

26 Comments for The Ringer: Will Pitino be remembered at Louisville for the title or leaving the program in wreckage?



  1. Bigbluemember
    11:17 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    What title?



  2. Han
    11:19 pm September 27, 2017 Permalink

    Considering the banner was gonna come down because of the previous scandal, I’m pretty sure he’ll be remembered for both scandals. It’s not like he left them with hardware.



    • runningunnin.454
      12:05 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      But he did leave us with hardware; so how will he be remembered at UK; like Mrs. T said earlier…complicated.



    • ClutchCargo
      9:08 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      But the question is about his legacy at U-6. So, not really that complicated when you consider that the penalties will wipe out most of the good he did there, and will cripple the program for years to come.



    • EdC
      9:52 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      Stripper poles don’t count as hardware in this context.



    • CatstopWontstop
      10:54 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      Kentucky’s 6th National Championship banner hangs in Rupp because of Rick, and thankfully it is without scandal or in danger of being removed. That’s how I will remember Pitino…as a man who did so many great things for Kentucky basketball in the 90’s, only to completely destroy all respect for him in the time spent after.



  3. callitlikeiseeit
    12:33 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    He should be remembered at UK for bringing us back to greatness, which is what he did. He has said many times how much he regrets leaving UK but there is no way anyone can blame him for taking all that Boston offered, we would have done the same thing. Great respect for what he did here but also have no pity for what he has done at university-6. Someone mentioned earlier that maybe he got desperate after Cal got here and that could be a good theory. But in the end he will now just live out the rest of his life very comfortable, with his millions, so what has he really lost, he was about done anyways. He does not seem to care what people think of him so he basically just retired, not when he wanted to but close. To think U-6 paid him all that money to destroy U-6 in the end, but they have themselves to blame as they should have canned him years ago for his actions.



    • EdC
      8:05 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      I know it is massively unpopular but it never bothered me that he took the Louisville job. Yea it’s a UK rival but in every other industry people take jobs with rivals all the time. He was taking over for a legend and a good shot to have a great program. Lastly it isn’t like the UK job or even any better job than Louisville was available to him. Take away the emotion and I get why he took the job.



    • EdC
      8:06 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      Should have added that AFTER he took the job, the way he acted, talked, carried himself, what I consider dirty play, etc. etc. are what bothered me about him. While he was at UK my dad and I used to joke about how slick he thought he was but for me the slime never quite made its way to the surface. BOY did it ever surface at Louisville.



  4. Angelo
    1:24 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    Those kids and their families deserved the money. The criminals are the NCAA… Trump should pardon the assistant coaches. College athletes have been paid at least since WWII…



    • BBNDan7
      4:29 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      They do deserve the money, but it is still illegal. So let’s not let trump just start pardoning criminals like he already has…



    • Mathlete
      6:56 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

      The assistant coaches the FBI arrested took the money for themselves that was supposed to go to the kids you say deserved it. Are you sure they should be pardoned?

      Also, they haven’t been convicted of anything yet so despite what Trump did for Arpaio a pardon isn’t appropriate yet anyway.



    • UK Big Board Update
      12:13 pm September 28, 2017 Permalink

      Angelo is crumbling…. 😂😂😂



  5. chris43
    2:17 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    What title? Didn’t the NCAA strip them of it? I use to like Pitino. I had hard feelings for a bit after he left for Boston but got over it after a couple years. Heck for a bit I even pulled for the Cards (if they weren’t playing UK of course) due to Pitino being the coach. BUT once I started to realize how much their fans truly hate UK along with how jealous and bitter little Ricky is toward Cal….totally turned me against him and the program. This serves them right and I honestly can’t laugh any harder. Hopefully UNC is next line and not stalled in courts.



  6. Reuben Cuban
    5:30 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    In the quest to achieve greatness, uave via Tom Jurich essentially pushed out / fired / dumped HOF Coach Denny Crum.



  7. BluKudzu
    6:43 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    His arrogance, his thoughts of being a victim, throughout all of his sleazy transgressions, is what he will be remembered for. Like it, or not, he took a program with ardent fans, and along with Jurich, took as much as they could from the program, and left it in a smoldering heap.
    I find it odd, that people in the media, can’t see the real problem at Louisville. It was not Pitino. It was Jurich. He made this happen, he let this happen.



  8. EdC
    8:01 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    Both because he will have the record for coach of the first title to be revoked.



  9. Aar
    8:07 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    I can’t bring myself to have any schadenfreude at ANY coach’s or program’s demise. It just makes all of sports, college basketball in this case, more sleazy. In the end, when a college basketball or any sports team wins, the question remains – are they just simply the most sleazy of them all? Makes it hard to be a fan.

    Not to put my head in the sand and ignore it all but I just wish everybody would play by the rules. Unfortunately, these sports we love generate massive amounts of money. The people who are willing to destroy their bodies to get a piece of that money usually come from disadvantaged backgrounds. When that disparity exists, corruption and cheating result.

    How do you solve it? Eliminate the myth of amateurism. Let the kids get legally paid at any age. Allow paid players to play college sports. I can’t believe I’m saying that but it’s the only way I can see to minimize this garbage.



  10. CatCall
    8:10 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    Put me in the “he was a disgrace” column. I did love what he brought to UK. Could almost forgive him from the move to the Celts, which was the pro team I always loved. But what I could not forgive is the move to UL. I could understand UNC or Duke before UL. I just remember thinking “You just don’t do that!” It really felt like a betrayal.

    So, while I tried to reconcile the situation and get to a point where I could just appreciate what he did at UK, he slowly began to show another side of himself. He “said” leaving KY was a mistake and it was Camelot but he continually did and said things that, to me, were demeaning of UK and its fans. Then, when Cal came, it went to another level. Someone above said “he does not seem to care what people think of him”. I don’t think that could be further from the truth. His ego could not handle Cal’s success and admiration from the UK fans. We finally had someone that took us, not just past, above Pitino. He flat could not take it.

    Everything he has become is a reflection of an ego gone wild. His level of hubris is unparalleled and was his undoing (along with some support of UL fans and TJ). The lurid scandals in rapid succession and his unwillingness to accept responsibility for them is just not something I can forget or forgive.



  11. catsarerunnin
    8:19 am September 28, 2017 Permalink

    He saved the program here. There’s no question in my mind about that. He was the perfect coach for the job of rebuilding this program. There were those who said it would take 5-10 years to get this program back on track. He did it in 2 and his first season was the best coaching job I’ve ever seen. That team shouldn’t have won 5 games. I will always give him credit for that. But his success inflated what was always a huge ego. And it’s his ego the ultimately destroyed him and his career. I could never forgive him for going to UL but I totally respect what he did here.



  12. TheMaxCat
    12:30 pm September 28, 2017 Permalink

    Angry he took the UL job, No…. disappointed, yes. It indicated to me that he didn’t understand or care about the significance of coaching at UK. It would have been like Bob Knight going to Purdue or Coach K going to NC.

    I’m not convinced when its all said and done that the NCAA isn’t going to feel the heat to give UL the death penalty

    Lastly, the Pink elephant in the room is no one’s wanting to say that they are on pins and needles hoping UK’s name doesn’t come up in the probe/investigation.

    I hope we are clean and can score a couple recruits out of this as well (such as Bol dropping Arizona and picking us) and maybe there’s a transfer that’s not dirty to grab as well but as long as we aren’t implicated I’m good and it would go along way to enhancing UK and Cals reputation nationally as well.



  13. 8xchamp
    5:22 pm September 28, 2017 Permalink

    Coach 2 will only be remembered for his shame. There is no title