Rick Pitino has made many decisions that have altered his career, which in turn has altered the trajectory of the sport of basketball. Now in his late 60s and returning to college basketball for the first time in three years, it’s an appropriate time to reflect on his lengthy career.
There are a few things I’d imagine Pitino might second-guess, like…
- Not guarding the inbounds passer in the 1992 East Regional Final.
- Leaving Kentucky for the Boston Celtics.
- One Night at Porcini’s
- Flipping off fans at Rupp Arena.
- Trusting Andre McGee too much.
This week the new Iona head basketball revealed his biggest regret, and surprisingly, the answer is “none of the above.”
“I’m not looking to move. I’m looking to build it into something special. My biggest regret wasn’t leaving Kentucky. My biggest regret was leaving Providence. Iona reminds me so much of Providence. Small, Catholic school with a small, charming campus. It reminds me so much of what I had in ’87. It allured me here.”
ESPN caught up with six different college basketball coaches who are returning to the D-I ranks this fall. In the Pitino excerpt you’ll find many more “give me a break” quotes from the Master of Hyperbole. Jeff Borzello also caught up with Tom Hart’s former SEC Network color analyst, UAB coach Andy Kennedy, and another former Kentucky head coach, Billy Gillispie, who will help Tarleton State transfer to Division I this fall.
“Coaching is in your blood. Real coaching gets in your blood,” Gillispie said. “I didn’t do it for money, just for the love of the sport. Relationships with players that last forever. When I did step away for two or three months because of blood pressure — I’ve always said, I’d rather burn out than fade away. The president of [Ranger] once said to me, ‘You’d rather die on the sidelines than in the stands.’ He made a good point. It’s in my blood.”