Coach, it’s me, Drew. I sat behind you on a flight to Las Vegas over the summer, remember? I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with you on the airport shuttle, then directly behind you on the escalator and at the baggage claim. You and your boys were concerned I would tell everyone about the company you traveled with; but a snitch, I am not.
I also met you at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Louisville over Christmas last year. You were passing behind my seat, so I took the opportunity to ask you for a selfie. You leaned down and whispered “not a chance” in my ear and pinched a pressure point on my left shoulder blade. It really hurt, but not as bad as watching you take several selfies on your way out the door with other guests.
We met one other time, when I was only a young boy, at your Kentucky basketball camp in Lexington in 1995. You called me out in orientation, in front of all of the campers and their parents, for laughing at someone else who was cutting up. You told me to repeat the last thing you said. I couldn’t. Knowing what I know now, whatever you said was probably a lie. Thanks for the embarrassing moment, though. Mom and Dad paid good money and drove three hours each way for that. Tubby’s camps were better anyway.
Now that I’ve introduced myself, I would like to give you a piece of advice you should consider during these trying times: Give it up. Retire. Walk away. Pack up your rings and your trophies and your lube and get out while you still can. Box up all those U of L mementos and keepsakes and ball gags and butt plugs and move on to the next chapter of your life. This is a dirty, dirty situation you are in right now, even by your standards. Sure, you have proven in the past you can clean up the messiest of messes, but this is the messiest mess of them all. This isn’t Kentucky basketball in ’89 or your personal scandal in ’09. This isn’t a sticky clump of your own baby gravy you can dry clean out of the left thigh of your Croft & Barrows. This is an entire dorm – a dorm that was under your watch – covered in four years worth of Ciroc Pineapple, glitter, knockoff perfume and nut butter, and there isn’t a pressure washer powerful enough to clean it up in your lifetime.
You are better than this, Rick. Not by much, but you are better than this. You’re a Hall of Famer, a two*-time NCAA champion and one of the all-time winningest coaches in college basketball history. Even through all of your blatant lies and the NBA potential you have ruined over the last decade, you are still one of the game’s greats, and it is a shame it will end like this, whenever that end may come.
Whether you knew about the alleged incidents or not, this is on you and that is why it is time to walk. It happened under your nose and it happened often. I can’t imagine you were directly involved or knowledgable of such outrageous and disgraceful events, but I can’t believe you are completely innocent, either. At the very least, you had to have known something was happening inside those walls. Maybe you ducked your head, but second-rate, bush-league, Monday-afternoon-shift-at-best strippers don’t turn a college dorm into the Show ’N Tail without the head man in charge catching at least a whiff of the Johnson’s baby oil. If you didn’t so much as hear the “Tip Drill” beat drop from your office, that may be worse than singing the hook while one of the girls pulled a folded dollar bill out of your teeth, without using her hands. Either way, you messed up, one way or another.
Today, you told ESPN that Andre McGee needs to come forward and tell the truth to his teammates, to the University of Louisville, to his fans and to his coaches that have taught him to do the right thing for years. It won’t get any better for you when he does. Something obviously happened and this deep dark hole will only get deeper (figuratively) as more people come forward with details. Parties happened. Dances happened. Hand stuff happened. Mouth stuff happened. Butt stuff happened, probably. Sex happened. The exchange of money happened. This we all believe. The only thing left to find out is who paid for it, and Andre McGee holds that answer. Be careful what you wish for.
In closing, I would like to tell you there was a time I once respected you, Rick. What you did at Kentucky in the early and mid 90s will never be forgotten. It shaped my Big Blue fandom and was the highlight of my youth. You were a God. Jamal Mashburn was a God. Tony Delk was a God. Antoine Walker, God. The entire ’95-96 team: Gods.
But times change and you are far from the man I once idolized. Maybe it is because I grew older and opened my eyes to your bullshit, or maybe it’s because you changed with age, but you are a pretty terrible human being these days, by several accounts. That doesn’t change what you did at Kentucky, but it’s the reason I loathe what you do at Louisville.
As a fan of basketball, I will admit: your long and successful career on the court doesn’t deserve an ending like this, Rick. But it’s time. Take this advice and step down. Ride off into the sunset in the free limo parked outside Minardi Hall, provided free of charge with the two-drink minimum, and leave it all behind.
Just be sure to tip your servers and bartenders on your way out.