After what had to have been one of the worst weekends of his professional career, Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino sat down with Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis and answered a number of questions about his program's scandal, its postseason ban, and his future with U of L.
The whole thing is worthy of your time, but here are the most interesting (in my eyes) questions and answers:
SI: It sounds like from your comments over the weekend that you disagree with this decision. Do you?
RP: I don't disagree with anything that Tom Jurich does. I called him the next morning and said, "Tom, are we sure we want to do this? Do we want to take some time and think about it?" He said, "I know how down you are about this, but we've got to do it." The mistake they made was they didn't have him on the committee. That was a very, very substantial mistake because this would have happened weeks ago. Because once Tom was informed of something, he would not sweep it under the carpet. He has to address it. He corrects things right away.
SI: So why would he do itâassuming he did it?
RP: That's the only thing I can't understand. I had an interesting story. I went to vote and while I was standing in the polling area, a lady came up to me and said she grew up with this woman [Katina Powell], and she told me a bunch of stories I can't repeat to you. I said to her, "Look, ma'am, tell me something. You knew Andre. Why did he do this?" She said, "It's obvious, coach. He came to this neighborhood and he was treated like LeBron [James]. Everybody wanted to get in with him because he was an ex-player at Louisville. He let it go to his head. He wanted to be the ring leader." That's the only explanation I've gotten from anybody that makes any sense, because he would never get any credit for a recruit coming to Louisville. He was the operations guy. Ops guys don't get credit for recruits.
SI: How many times did you talk to Andre after the book came out?
RP: I talked to him only one time and he misled me. I was screaming, saying, "How can you do something like this?" He said, "Coach, all I did was have these women come over and they just listened to music." I said, "Andre, if you're lying ..." He said, "No, coach, I'm telling you the truth." He said this woman was a party planner, that's how he met her. I know now all these things he told me were lies, but I didn't know him at the time. So I sent him one text message, which I've kept. I said, "Andre, I'll forgive you. We go back a long way. I love you, son. Just tell the truth."
That was the last time I spoke to him. He got himself a lawyer and I never spoke to him again. The NCAA also asked me not to speak to him until the investigation is over.
SI: One question that is hanging out there is, where did he get the money to give to the women? Are you concerned about where that might lead?
RP: I'm really not. That's the one area I don't think was true. Andre McGee was one of the cheapest individuals around. If it was his turn to buy a round in a tavern, he would go to the restroom. Everybody joked about it. There's just no way anybody believes that that amount of money was given to this woman.
SI: So are you fully committed to remaining as the coach at Louisville?
RP: You know, I do the same thing every year. I take some time and ask, Did you have fun? Is it something you want to continue doing? And every year for 15 years, I've said I want to come back. Now these circumstances are different than most, but I'm more passionate today than I've ever been. I think I enjoy teaching as much as I've ever enjoyed it. If there was a time where if I believe in my heart that Louisville is better off without me, I would leave yesterday.
Three things stand out to me here. 1) Andre McGee didn't even try hard with his lie to Rick Pitino (listening to music?). 2) The fact that McGee is/was so notoriously cheap only makes me more concerned about where the funding for all this came from. 3) My understanding during all of this has been that Pitino wants to coach at U of L for as long as he can and that U of L is in the same boat. I'm now less confident than ever that this is going to wind up being the conclusion.
All we can do at this point is wait, I guess.