Does anyone who believed Rick Pitino might walk through that door in Rhode Island want to buy some magic beans?
The University of Rhode Island emphatically denies a report GoLocalProv.com published Monday which claimed the school had agreed to hire the legendary coach to lead its men’s basketball team. Citing multiple sources, GoLocalProv.com reported URI athletic director Thorr Bjorn and Pitino had agreed to a $2 million-per-season contract with the former Louisville coach.
In response, URI on Monday night issued one of the sternest rebukes of a news report we’ve ever seen.
“This story is false,” a URI statement said, per WPRI and FOX Providence’s Yianni Kourakis. “University President David M. Dooley and Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn have not spoken with Rick Pitino. Athletic Director Bjorn never presented an offer to President Dooley related to Rick Pitino. The University takes journalistic integrity very seriously and denies the validity of this story in its entirety. The University has requested the story be removed from the GoLocalProv website.
Rhode Island is in fact trying to fill the vacancy Dan Hurley’s departure for UConn created last month. The Rams reached the NCAA tournament each of the last two seasons and are keen to maintain the standards the program set under Hurley.
Louisville fired Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich last year over their alleged involvement in the NCAA recruiting and bribery scandal. Pitino, who insists he’ll be vindicated, might want to return to the college basketball ranks in the near future.
But his link to URI always seemed like a match invented on the internet.