Rick Pitino has received another four-year extension on his contract, extending his commitment to the University of Louisville through the 2025-26 basketball season.
Not that anyone suspected Pitino was going anywhere anytime soon. The man loves basketball, has the greatest boss in the industry, and is strongly committed to everything Louisville.
Along with that commitment comes the same Pitino that UofL fans have come to embrace over the past 14 years. One who uses the media to motivate his players as often as during practice sessions. One given to lecturing the media and fans on the game. One who always seems to be working on his next book. One prone to misdiagnosis of injuries and recovery times.
Pitino is one of the best motivational speakers around, inspiring his players, as well as his coaching staff and the fans. While his bench fell short this year, he usually has the ability to get the absolute most out of his players, getting to excel year after year. One suspects he will alter his approach on developing his reserves this season.
Pitino is also unpredictable, loves being that way, sometimes doing the exact opposite of what he says he’s going to do. Doesn’t always work out, but it does more often than not.
He also has an unrivaled ability to prepare his teams for post-season play, defying the odds this past by coming within one missed free throw of returning to the Final Four
The Cardinals are coming off their fifth NCAA Tournament regional final appearance in eight years, a stretch that also included the 2012 Final Four as well as the 2013 title. He is the only coach besides Roy Williams of North Carolina to take two different schools to the Final Four three different times.
He has a 722-254 career record in 30 college seasons at five different schools, was the first coach to win national titles at two different schools, having won at Kentucky in 1996 and with Louisville in 2013. The Cardinals are coming off their fifth NCAA Tournament regional final appearance in eight years.
Pitino just seems to keep getting better and more dedicated to the game. As he noted in the Tuesday press conference, “I never thought at 62 I would be more passionate than 22 or 32, and I am. I just really, really love it.”
His boss, Tom Jurich, wants Pitino to be his coach for as long as possible. “I think he’s just reaching his peak. I really mean that.”
Pitino and the University of Louisville have a lifetime commitment.