Isaiah Saint Hilaire
Coach Rick Pitino will not be remembered as one of the best coaches in history. He won’t be remembered as one of the coaches who were able to ignite fire in players and recruit all the right athletes into the Louisville program. He won’t be remembered as the inspiration coach for a below .500 New York Knicks team, who by his second year with the franchise, led the team to a 52 win season. No, he will instead be remembered as the coach who couldn’t finish. His career was stellar, taking the Cardinals to the Final Four more times than almost half of the teams in the NCAA Division I program. However, he came across trouble too many times and could not find an ending to his troublesome ways.
“Fortunately I’m innocent of all wrongdoing, I run a clean program, and I go overboard on being compliant. And unfortunately this happened because of a young man who I gave a break to every step along the way in life. That being said, I can understand anybody’s opinion when it first broke that, how could nobody know? How it happened I’ll never know, but it’s a part of my life and something I have to live with. When all is said and done, everybody will see how I run a program,” Pitino said, last year, in a phone interview in regards to his assistant bringing in strippers for the players on the Louisville basketball team.
In the realm of coaching, Pitino has done many great things in his career, such as taking the Cardinals to three Final Four appearances and winning a championship in 2013. He also made four appearances and won a championship with the Kentucky Wildcats in 1996. His achievements put him in the same class as coaching legends such as Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith and Jim Boeheim. However, the allegations and scandals always outweigh the achievements. The allegations against Pitino have finally put to rest the notorious coach’s career. Despite the fact that Pitino has claimed he had no involvement in the most recent scandal slight to his name, Louisville has had enough of it. The university has already put him on unpaid leave, and soon, they will leave him as an unemployed man.
Many coaches and players have been involved in various scandals that have left their reputation to be damaged in the eyes of fans, as well as other players and coaches. Pitino claimed he had no involvement in any of the scandals, however, with Louisville’s program being on the line, he was caught and punished for everything he was involved in. The Andre McGee scandal, when a former player admitted to taking recruits and former players to sex parties during his tenure as an assistant coach between 2010-2014, was detrimental as he was viewed as less than a coach. He was viewed as someone who did not have control over his program. People viewed him that way because of how he handled the situation and the reasoning behind it. Is it okay to make athletes feel relaxed after a long day of practice, or after back-to-back-to-back games across the country? Is it okay for a coach to alleviate the stress of the players by having his assistant pick out strippers he thinks will ease the tension the players have? Those are two very different questions that have been talked about for over a year due to the accusations presented against Rick Pitino.
The NCAA has been fully aware of the many scandals that Pitino has been involved in, and they warned Louisville about putting an end to all the negative media Pitino was attracting. Louisville’s response was expressing suspensions to Pitino in hopes of having him learn NOT to involve himself in precarious situations. The issue lies with the ethical standards Pitino has for himself. Louisville does not want to be associated with such negative morale. They want their players to be genuine, sound, basketball players. They want athletes coming out of high school to select Louisville over any other university. Pitino couldn’t convey that message for all the students going into college anymore. Although he has been known for inspiring children, Louisville felt that Coach Rick Pitino wasn’t inspiring his players in the right direction anymore.