“Pitino: My Story”
by Rick Pitino with Seth Kaufman
Rick Pitino has always been a love him or hate him type of personality. There was no one in the middle. In 2017, he was fired as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals. Many felt it was the tip of the iceberg in exposing a scandal in college basketball and payoffs from major shoe companies. Little has made its way to the public after two years.
Earlier in Pitino’s career, there was a major scandal involving staff members hiring prostitutes to engage in sex with potential recruits. It appears Rick Pitino is just a scandal-ridden coach no matter where he hangs his hat. But the bottom line for many is that he won national titles with Kentucky and Louisville.
Rick Pitino tells his story.
This book parallels his life with the NBA in New York along with head coaching jobs in Providence, Kentucky, Louisville, and more NBA work for the Knicks and the Celtics. In all of those duties, he was liked and revered by the players and personnel in and around him.
Pitino seems to be most proud of what he accomplished at Providence, where he took a program with very little success to the Final Four in 1987 out of the powerful Big East Conference. He also talks about a player whom he made work to earn his way to the starting lineup, Billy Donovan.
Donovan went on to succeed as the head coach at the University of Florida after his starring days at Providence. Pitino explains the in-roads that the shoe companies have made in the collegiate and professional ranks with money being doled out to young and hungry assistants.
Of course, Pitino talks about the scandals and also gives the reader a good explanation of how shoe company money has infiltrated basketball. Pitino’s side of his hiring is explained and his rationale that he was not given due process by the Department of Justice. He goes on to explain how the athletic director at Louisville used him as “collateral damage” in order to save athletics for the Louisville Cardinals.
This is a persuasive book and every sports fan needs it on their shelf. Reading it was a joy and a refreshing look at another side of the story. The readers need to remember this is his side of the story and most likely sides won’t be switched. But, it gives reason to pause and understand that some things may have been fabricated.
Because this book presents only Pitino’s side of the story, the context has to be taken into account as unbalanced. It is refreshing to hear this side as there has been plenty written about the accusations and investigation to reach the conclusion of his firing.