Rick Pitino is absent from the madness this March, which is an odd thing to acknowledge.
The Hall of Fame coach was ousted at Louisville in September, after accusations surfaced from the FBI’s investigation into college basketball that Pitino knew about a $100,000 payment from Adidas to the father of a recruit, who’s believed to be 2017 5-star prospect Brian Bowen. Since then, as revealed in a story from The Washington Post’s Will Hobson on Wednesday, Pitino has been living a semi-retired life in the Miami area.
And Pitino is miserable.
Check out this incredible passage from Hobson’s story:
He spends his days in the gym and on the golf course. He’s been doing more reading; concerned friends have sent along self-help books. When he wants solitude, Pitino takes his boat, The Floating Cardinal — “I know, I’m going to change the name,” he said — on a short trek over to Shuckers, a dockside bar attached to the back of a Best Western where the locals tend to leave him be as he sits at the bar, orders a salad and watches a game.
It’s a life of extreme comfort, Pitino acknowledges. He’s miserable.
This is the first time he has been unemployed during the NCAA tournament since 2001 and just the second time since he graduated from college in 1974. After initially claiming he was done with coaching last fall, Pitino wants back in.
“I miss it terribly,” Pitino said. “I don’t know how to explain it in words . . . . There’s just this emptiness.”
That’s quite the admission from the former Louisville coach, who likely envisioned himself in a much different place this month before last fall. Recently, he was rumored to be a consideration for the open Georgia job, which eventually went to former Indiana coach Tom Crean.
Will Pitino receive another chance in college basketball? His production as a coach would suggest it’s possible, but it’s hard to look past his part in the sport’s current predicament with the FBI probe that has lingered all season. Hiring Pitino in this environment would be a massive risk for any school.
Pitino might want to get used to his current life as fast as possible.