Louisville has made official the news many expected immediately after it was announced that Wyking Jones had taken a job at Cal: Ralph Willard is coming back.
Willard has also served as an assistant on Rick Pitino staffs with with the New York Knicks (1987-89), at the University of Kentucky (1989-90) and at Louisville (2009-10), where he also served a year with the Cardinals as Director of Basketball Operations (2010-11).
"I've asked Ralph Willard to come back for next year as we have a totally new basketball team," Pitino said. "I couldn't afford any other changes, including potentially moving David Padgett up this year because he is invaluable as our director of basketball operations. I needed someone who knows the University of Louisville and knows our program. Ralph is a great basketball mind, a great evaluator of talent and will be tremendous working with our new team. I'm really excited to welcome him back."
Willard, the first Pitino assistant to ever beat him as a head coach, sounds just as excited to be back in Louisville.
"My long professional and personal relationship with Rick, past time with UofL and the program, and most importantly a complete knowledge of the defensive and offensive system, along with their teaching points, should enable a seamless transition that will allow me an opportunity to add immediate value to what I have observed to be a strong and cohesive staff," said Willard.
"In our discussions about the possibility of my joining the staff, Rick laid out the reasons he thought this would be advantageous for the program and give him the best situation to maximize the development of a very young team. I look forward with great anticipation to joining the staff, teaching and coaching these young men, and doing whatever Rick feels would add the most value to the staff and the program. I can't wait to get started."
Someone feel free to photoshop this photo onto that LeBron "I'm Coming Home" cover.