Drama (noun | dra●ma): a situation or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces
Life as a University of Louisville Men's Basketball fan would not be anywhere near normal without drama. And drama can, and does, come in many forms in this instance. Whether it's transfers or injuries, skipped press conferences, close losses, the presumed flipping of the middle finger or the notion of strippers dancing in the team's on campus dormitory, drama is ever present and synonymous with UofL fans and the program they, myself included, love unconditionally. So few, if any, die hard Louisville fans were probably all that surprised when he or she learned of the newest rumor stating that head coach Rick Pitino could potentially be interested in talking to UNLV about their vacant head coaching job.
I know, rumors about Pitino allegedly talking to other schools or NBA franchises about their coaching vacancies is seemingly a built in tradition at UofL, ala fans showing up to the start of home football games a quarter late . If you've heard it once, then you‘ve likely heard it a thousand times. In fact, fairly early into Pitino's tenure as the head coach at Louisville, it became commonplace for the "coach is leaving" rumor mill to crank up less than one week following the team's final game that respective season. But all history aside, this most recent rumor brought me to write this piece on Coach Pitino and where he will or won't be in the future from a head coaching standpoint.
To be transparent, I don't put much stock into the UNLV rumor(s). However, allow me to play devil's advocate for just a moment to discuss how or why it could even happen in the first place. Here are three primary reasons the rumor could at least have legs of any length.......
● UNLV, while not exactly a destination job, is still an enticing position especially for someone on the back end of an illustrious career who's looking for a late change of scenery
● The money, despite however much it would take, would more than likely be made available IF indeed Pitino were to seriously consider an offer of any kind
● If he took the position, it would not be impossible or out of the ordinary for Pitino to sign a short contract and then prep the landing pad for his son Richard to fly in and take over down the road
Convinced yet? Me either.
Having looked at any of the primary reasons this whole saga could even take place, I now counter with a myriad of reasons as to why it could and will not, much like the notion of Beau Zach Smith miraculously finding an additional year of eligibility and starting at the 5 spot next year for the Cards.
First and foremost, Pitino has made it quite clear that he loves living in Kentucky, specifically the city of Louisville. With his love for and involvement with horse racing, I am certain that he is aware that the only race horses you can normally find in Vegas are on the SportsBook television screens. And outside of horses, what exactly would a program like UNLV offer that Louisville could not? Horseshoe is underrated y'all! Plus, do we really need to remind others that Louisville is arguably one of the 5 best coaching jobs in all of college basketball?
A second reason to support my stance: would UNLV's ability to pay up and offer Pitino an obscene number be enough to lure him away or capture his attention? It's no secret that Pitino is well paid at Louisville. I'm not his CPA or financial consultant. In fact, I labored to get through high school calculus. But, something tells me Coach P is not exactly hurting for money and would not be interested in the job because of a big pay day. In fact, Pitino has already signed an extension to coach at UofL until 2025 - a year that many Louisville and other college fans believe will be near if not THE end of his coaching days.
A third reason I'm just not buying into the UNLV rumor mill is because I truly don't think at this point in his career that Rick Pitino would take a job with the sole intention of setting up his son. Fact of the matter is that Richard has a decent gig right now at Minnesota. No, the Gopher program is not historically one you link to greatness (sorry Kevin McHale), but it does have its own unique history and plays in the Big 10. I would have to think that if Richard Pitino were to leave Minnesota, which inevitably he will at some point, his desire would be to move UP the coaching ladder to a program with more potential than UNLV and avoid riding his father's coat tails.
The fourth, and perhaps most important, reason I believe that Rick Pitino will remain as the head basketball coach at the University of Louisville for years to come is Tom Jurich. Jurich, who we're all aware brought Pitino to Louisville after the departure of fellow Hall of Fame coach and icon Denny Crum, has gone public in his support of Pitino as the head coach at UofL in light of pending NCAA violations linked to the Katina Powell saga. Like me, it would appear that Jurich believes in Pitino and does not find any reason to think that he knew anything about the Andre McGee/stripper ordeal(s) that allegedly took place. Jurich has also shown Pitino his unwavering support in other instances as well, most notably the entirety of the Karen Sypher debacle. Loyalty and trust are hard to come by in big time college athletics these days, but Jurich has thrown both Pitino's way since the day he stepped foot on campus. I just couldn't imagine Pitino not reciprocating those feelings.
I have been a critic of Rick Pitino's many times in the past. But my own meaningless personal issues with him are linked to some of his recruiting efforts, not his coaching. I'll admit I'm selfish and need to get over the Sebastian Telfair, Amir Johnson, Tyreke Evans & Tobias Harris shortcomings.
If you doubt Pitino's past and current ability to coach, develop and lead teams to success then you're either blind or a UK fan. As a Louisville fan, yes I have been embarrassed by many situations that have happened under Coach P's watch at Louisville. But in the same light, I'm not too proud to admit that there are very few coaches I would want in his place coaching at my alma mater.
So just how much would you be willing to bet that Rick Pitino ends up Sin City? Would you wager the crumpled up $20 bill you might have recently discovered in your newly dried jeans? Would you put up your next month's mortgage or bet the farm? I'm the furthest thing from a gambler. My past performances at bachelor parties all across the Midwest prove as such. But if I were, I'd put a large sum on Pitino staying put and this whole ordeal losing steam fast like so many before it.
Pitino to Sin City? Lol, Don't Bet On It........