Rick Pitino knows what it’s like to coach a struggling team in Boston. He went 102-146 during parts of four seasons with the Celtics before resigning midway through the 2000-01 campaign.
A lot has changed since those tough times for both Pitino and the Celtics, though. Pitino is coming off of a national championship with Louisville, and the Celtics finally returned to their former glory with a title in 2008.
But Boston is now once again faced with a tough rebuilding project after trading away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics decided that the man who would be best to lead this project was former Butler head coach Brad Stevens.
Pitino also knows what it’s like to go from coaching college basketball to coaching in the pros, so he had some advice for Stevens while the Cardinals were being honored at the White House on Tuesday.
“I won 52 games and lost 30 with the Knicks, and losing 30 games was painful in one season,” Pitino told ESPN’s Andy Katz. “But I was an assistant first with the Knicks. The difference for college guys who weren’t assistant coaches is you’re going to lose a lot of games. You’re going to win a lot of games, too, but you’re going to lose more [in one year] than you’ve lost in five years of college. You have to accept losing and that’s the most difficult thing.”
The Celtics are hoping that Stevens won’t have to accept too much losing in Boston.