Rick Pitino has been away from Louisville for quite some time, but his scandal-filled legacy will continue to cripple the university.
Pitino did plenty of great things during his time at Louisville. He went to a couple Final Fours, consistently lost to John Calipari and helped bring UofL to the ACC. A Hall of Fame coach who brought three different programs to the Final Four, all of it will be overlooked because of how he finished his career. Andrea Adelson of ESPN sees no way around his scandalous finale.
There can be no other way to view his 16 years with the Cardinals, no matter how vehemently both he and his defenders scream that he has been vilified and misjudged. Pitino harmed Louisville in many ways, staining its reputation, triggering multiple investigations and now this: a national title and 2012 Final Four appearance stricken from the record books.
It’s not just the stripper scandal that cost them a pair of Final Fours and a National Title banner. It’s also Karen Sypher and the ongoing FBI recruiting investigation.
Pitino has not once taken responsibility for the sex parties that happened during recruiting visits and drew the NCAA to investigate. He also has denied any knowledge in the recruiting scandal that cost him his job. In fact, Pitino is suing the University of Louisville Athletic Association for $37.6 million for breach of contract after he was fired in October.
As much as Pitino won at Louisville, all those victories seem meaningless and his legacy forever tainted, especially now that the banner must come down.
Playing the denial card did Pitino no favors in his fall from grace. In his dramatic fall, he took Louisville down with him. One day Louisville may be able to recover. You can’t say the same about Coach-2.