Rick Pitino never was going to ram his way back into the college basketball landscape.
The former University of Louisville coach revealed Thursday during his appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” the University of Rhode Island never contacted him about taking charge of its men’s basketball program.
GoLocalProv.com reported Monday that URI athletic director Thorr Bjorn and Pitino had agreed to a $2 million-per-season contract. But URI emphatically denied the story, and Pitino’s comments reinforce the university’s account of event.
“No, I was not,” Pitino said when Patrick asked if he was offered the job. “I have never talked to the president of Rhode Island. I think because I coached Providence College in 1987 and because I have great memories and obviously love the state very much, my name was brought up. But no, I don’t believe there has been any negotiation whatsoever with the University of Rhode Island.”
Rhode Island on Wednesday promoted David Cox to head coach in order to fill the vacancy Dan Hurley’s departure for UConn created.
College basketball programs haven’t shown much interest in Pitino since Louisville fired him last September over his alleged involvement in the NCAA recruiting and bribery scandal. Despite asserting his innocence, the 65-year-old fears he’ll never coach in college again.
“It’s probably not going to work for me in college basketball,” Pitino said. “One of the schools… said we believe in you wholeheartedly. The problem is the NCAA can’t investigate anybody, any school or any person, because the FBI told us not to investigate until their case is closed. So that’s just the way it is. … I’m not sure why the FBI is involved in college basketball, but it’s going to take years to shake out.”
Chances are Pitino will move on to other endeavors before the college-basketball waiting game he’s forced to play finally ends.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images