Rick Pitino appeared on WKRD 790 AM this morning to introduce Kevin Keatts, the final member of Louisville's revamped coaching staff. Keatts was previously the head coach at Hargrave Military Academy from 1999-2001 and 2003-2011, consistently one of the top prep schools in the country during his tenure. In between Keatts' two stints at Hargrave, he served as an assistant coach for two seasons at Marshall from 2001 - 2003, where he specialized in recruiting. Keatts is the third assistant basketball coach hired this week at Louisville, in addition to Pitino's son Richard and former New Mexico assistant Wyking Jones. He will fill newly-promoted Director of Basketball Operations Tim Lieberman's old position on the staff.
Below are some highlights from the interview:
On new coaching hires: "They're great at developing relationships, great follow-up people and great things were said about them as people."
On why nobody hired Keatts until now: "He had a short stint at Marshall, he's been offered jobs but has a good situation at Hargrave. [They win a lot of games]. He had interviews with both Billy Donovan [at Florida] and us [at Louisville]."
On hiring future head coaches: "[I made a] very selfish choice this time, as I round out my career, I want a commitment from them--3 years...I want [the new assistant coaches] to commit to the program--'you're all committed to make UofL a winner--a Top 5, Top 10 program and to stay that way'".
On Tim Fuller: "We sort of wasted this year with Tim Fuller [implied there's no ill well, just stating facts], we have to [make up for] that wasted time and get on the road. [Pitino also pointed out that he will be out on the road alongside his new staff to bolster the recruiting push for 2012 and 2013]."
On recruiting the 2012 class: "We know we only have to sign three players this year. We may take a transfer, we don't know. We're looking at all options."
On the changing atmosphere with assistant coaches, their ties to recruits and increasingly stronger influence in recruiting: "Every recruiting situation is different. 80% [of the time], the mom is the focal point. Getting them on campus, and to the Yum! Center is crucial."
On parting ways with the Puerto Rico National Team: [Pitino reiterated that in the beginning it was a "good deal" for Louisville but changes out of his control made it impossible for him to meet his primary responsibilities at Louisville]. "What's the difference between the cultural experience in the Dominican Republic, Canada, etc...[compared to Puerto Rico]?"
Closing remarks: "This is the best recruiting staff I've put together. By the time July comes around, we'll have a good idea of what recruits we can get [for the 2012 class]."