Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Big Money Boosters Want Pitino Back at UK


Earlier tonight, one of my colleagues told me that Arizona was hot on the trail of Rick Pitino. UA school officials thought he would be the perfect choice to replace outgoing legend Lute Olson--the same man, of course, who stopped Pitino from winning back-to-back NCAA titles in 1997.

Arizona was prepared to pay $2 million or more for Pitino to move to the desert.

However, in pursuit of details on that story, I stumbled across this stunner: Pitino could very well be on his way back to UK!

Earlier tonight, Pitino hosted two of Kentucky's biggest boosters. I won't divulge the names of those who attended, but I will tell you that one is huge in the banking business, the other in coal.

According to multiple sources, the boosters traveled to Louisville to persuade Pitino to come back to Lexington and try to fix the mess created by Mitch Barnhardt and Billy Gillispie.

Initially, Pitino was pushing Travis Ford for the job, but the boosters said no. They were adamant about wanting Pitino, and only Pitino. So much so, that they said he could have anything he wanted. "Name your price" was a frequent response from the boosters.

Now, don't get too excited just yet. Pitino did not accept the offer, but he didn't turn it down either. After first being reluctant to even listen to any offers, Pitino gave the boosters the impression that he would seriously consider it before ending the meeting.

And if it was up to Pitino's staff at Louisville, which includes Steve Masiello, Walter McCarty, and Richard Pitino (all with ties to Lexington), he would have said yes during the meeting. Word is that Pitino's assistants are really pushing for him to take the job.

And why wouldn't they? Besides going back to the place were Pitino reached the pinnacle of his career, it would also be much easier to win SEC titles every year as opposed to the jam-packed Big East. If the money is truly as good as I am hearing, it would be a no-brainer for Pitino to go back to UK.

However, that doesn't mean he will take the job. I wouldn't be shocked if he did, but I would be somewhat surprised. Nonetheless, I seriously doubt anything official would come out until after the NCAA Tournament anyway.

But anybody remember when Roy Williams was grilled by Bonnie Bernstein about leaving Kansas for North Carolina after losing the NCAA title game to Syracuse in 2003?

Could we witness a similar scene this year in Detroit? UK fans can only hope!

30 comments:

ToddLemon said...

I agree that something needs to be done, but I'm worried about the national perception of getting rid of a coach after only 2 years. Maybe there's some precedent, but I can't think of any off the top of my head...More disturbing is how this situation reiterates that UK-UL is a joke of a "rivalry". Can you imagine if Coach K left Duke to coach in the NBA (which he almost did), and then returned to coach in college at UNC?? Or if Steve Spurrier, after being fired by the Redskins, came back to coach at FSU?? Would that ever happen in a million years? But now Traitor Rick is at Louisville and there's talk of him actually returning to UK? I don't know what to feel about this. I agree that Billy G has to shape up his act or go, but I don't know if I can get on board with the 'Ville's coach coming to UK to be our program's savior...I don't think Ford/Horn/Pelphrey are ready for the big job yet, but how about some of the other national guys - Dixon, Calipari, or Kruger??? Of course, with the current state of our program, they might be better off staying where they are.
Man, I miss Tubby.

Anonymous said...

Pitino is going nowhere
Izzo to Arizona
Travis Ford gaining momentum
Calapari would come if asked

Anonymous said...

I love me some good humor. You have a true knack for it.

Anonymous said...

No way Pitino comes back. I would love it, but you are dreaming if you ever think he comes back except to play us every other year at Rupp. He is an East Coast guy, and loves the Big East. He has the best team in the best conference.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the time to sit around searching for your email address so I'll call you out right here.....


PITINO HAS NOT BEEN CONTACTED BY ANYONE AT KENTUCKY, AND PITINO'S ASSISTANTS ARE NOT PUSHING HIM TO DO ANYTHING (coming straight from an assistant coach at Louisville). Stop with the lies and BS. People like you Michael Eaves are the reason why the media and people from around the country laugh at UK fans.

Cherlynn said...

Dear God in heaven, let this be true!!!

Anonymous said...

lol i love these off the wall "insider" stories, when the going gets bad people will say anything to try to make themselves feel better, Pitino has no intentions of leaving louisville, but its a pretty funny article

Anonymous said...

If no one visited or knew about my blog, I'd make stuff up too. You have to get the word out. And what better way to do it than make up an outrageous story like this in a basketball crazy state? Kudos to you Michael Eaves.

Anonymous said...

From what I am hearing from a few insiders, the Clippers are going to win it all in the NBA this year.

Anonymous said...

You have got to be nuts. Pitino makes fun of Cat fans for a living now. Louisville has a new stadium, top 10 players lined up, and some Italian food besides "Outback".

Anonymous said...

To the person that said that he is the kinda person that gives uk fans bad names. See the thing is that UK fans demand excellence, we will not settle for mediocre seasons because we believe that UK is the best basketball school in the nation. When we get a coach that leads us to a national championship with another coaches players in his first year and then slowly tears apart the program that rupp built. and then we have a coach that doesnt care that he had one of the best teams sense the championship team in 98 this year, and that this was the first time in 17 years that we didnt make the NCAA. So when you say something about the CRAZY fans at uk just remember that the reason that you think were crazy is because you dont know what its like to cheer for a REAL TEAM!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I can't see Pitino leaving Louisville. And I certainly can't see Pitino going to Arizona either. Pitino is staying put and he has said that a many times; and it's not because he is in the Big East, getting top recruits, or getting a new arena, it's because it's easier to coach there without the pressure. Now granted he can get the big recruits easily at Kentucky and UK is getting a new arena slated for 2012 (my date could be off, but that is true), but he could dominate in the SEC like the Memphis coach does for the C-USA (don't feel like spelling is italian name, but it's John C).
If he really wanted to come back he would have done that 2 years ago. In a fantasy world- I would love to have him back because he was Wildcat before he was a Cardinal & I think it would be awesome for the rivalry between Louisville & Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

WyoneDawg here, I knew Dawn has some delusional relatives but you are truly taking the cake. Say Hi to your Mom for me and you need to come visit us in Louisville when we celebrate the National Championship or UKs NIT Championship whichever comes first.

Anonymous said...

I heard something, but I can say whom spoke the words I heard and can't really say what it was but I can say the person said that someone is leaning toward doing something, but not really what you are thinking that person is leaning toward doing.

And you can take that to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god I laugh so hard!!! Not at Pitino coming back to UK, but at the guy claiming to be a UofL assistant. I mean COME ON. your team is in the midst of starting the NCAA tourney and you got time to get on here and leave a comment... please!! You are some crazed louisville fan or some student trainer with aspirations of wishing you were an assistant and you are just afraid of losing your coach (to Ariz. or UK) and watching your program get lost in the powerfull big east (which would happen) Leaving UK was Pitino's biggest coaching mistake... ask him!! Why would he not want the chance to correct it??

Anonymous said...

The pitch was for Pitino . . . Richard Pitino

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely ridiculous. Stop it with stupid rumors please. I agree with another post that this is the reason people around the country think UK fans are so ignorant. AND one more thing. The only coach we should consider (other than maybe Calipari) is Travis Ford. People have been saying he is not ready for a long time. When do you think he will be ready then. HE IS READY NOW and anybody watching college ball can see he is ready now and possibly the only coach for the job at this point. WE NEED TRAV.

Chris said...

I know something most of you don't. First of all Mr. Eaves is telling the truth. I heard about all of this from a friend of a booster before even reading this blog. What Mr. Eaves stated is almost word for word what I heard from my source. I know most of you do not believe me nor Mr. Eaves but I promise the meeting did occur. All we can do now is wait.

Anonymous said...

I've read a lot of rumors, but this one actually gave me a boner. I would love for Rick to come back to UK. Tubby was always compared to Rick, Billy Clyde is compared to Rick so instead of hiring another coach that we can compare to Rick why not just hire RICK. Makes sense to me, it should have been done when Rick left Boston. I'm realistic and at this point take this story for what it is...a rumor. But all realities start off as rumors so let's hope this rumor turns into a reality. COME ON HOME RICK.

Michael Eaves said...

I appreciate all the comments on this post, even the misguided ones. However, I do want to point out one thing: this story is fact, not a rumor. Pitino hosted two huge UK boosters at his home Tuesday night. It happened. That is no rumor.

If someone says Pitino is coming back to Kentucky, then that would be a rumor since there is no confirmation of that statement.

I never said Pitino was coming back. I simply reported that UK supporters had contacted him, and at the urging of his assistant coaches, he's considering the their offer.

Feel free to argue the merits of Pitino going back to Lexington or staying in Louisville. I just wanted everyone to understand what is factual and what is rumored concerning this story.

Go Cats!

Card Game said...

You've got to be kidding.

Dontyouwishyourcoachwaspitino said...

lmmfao
Who's big brother now kitties?
Meow.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS.........my neighbors told me they was in lexington over the weekend walking there dog right before the big nit game and a lady also walking her dog told them that pitions dogs couisions sister baby mommas dog was seen the week before peeing on the front steps of rupp arena marking his territory.... sorry folks he going back....his dog already already took over the territoyr again

Anonymous said...

UK fans are acting like jilted lovers.

The Resurecter left UK for a more golden (green) opportunity in BOSTON. He keft Boston for the best coaching position available, U of L.

Now the boosters and fans are so scared of what he has built, that they are 1) Spreading rumors 2) Willing to take 2x sloppy seconds just to bring him back.

Anonymous said...

You guys gotta be kidding, right?

Pitino has friends that are UK boosters, so why would it be unusual for him to "host" them?

Let it go. Pitino is NOT going back to UK and his assistants are not pushing for him to go back to UK. It's wishful thinking and unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope Petino stays with the Cards. i don't think a reasonable offer of money would persuade Petino to leave Louisville. But... then again, when are UK fans or boosters reasonable.
Hey Mechael Eaves, GOOOOOOOOO
CARDS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Traitor Rick can stay in Louisville for all I care. All the Louisville fans were screaming for Rick's head 2 years ago are now in love with him. Yes I listen to the Louisville sports talk radio. Give Billy G another year. If things don't improve he is out. Then bring in T. Ford. Rick will not leave UL.

Anonymous said...

For all of you UK fans who turned your back on Tubby Smith when things weren't perfect enough to suit you....it serves you right to get Billy Gillespie and not be in THE tournament this year. It's funny how when the team is winning that the coach is great and all is well with the world, but let them lose a few games, and you're ready to run the coach out of town. It's pretty sad. I don't care for Gillespie either, but the UK fans should have supported and treated Tubby better than they did.

Anonymous said...

I heard from a reliable source that Michael Eaves thinks he is a journalist (himself). That is the only thing more comical than this story.

Kendra! said...

Hey Anonymous. All I can say is WOW. You're really getting into this debate. If you're so sure of yourself, then stop getting so into it. Geesh. lol. But anyways, this in fact, will probably never happen but it deffinatly would be nice. And stop hating on UK fans. Just because their the most loyal fans in the country. I would indeed love to see this program get back to where it should be, and I'm sure all of the other "crazy" uk fans would as well. I'm going to cheer for the wildcats reguardless :)!!