Welcome to immortality, Rick Pitino.
One of the best college basketball coaches ever has been selected for inclusion into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, according to reports from ESPN. They couldn’t have chosen a more deserving individual.
With his vigorous work ethic and strong interpersonal relationships, Pitino brings out the best in the people with whom he works. The coach has a purpose for everything he says, whether in jest or seriously, to a friend, to a stranger, a media representative or a fan. Pitino has a way of making the person he is addressing feel like he believes he or she the most important person in his life at the moment.
Everybody knew he would make good things happen at the University of Louisville when he took the job in 2001, and he has, currently overseeing the Cardinals third trip to the Final Four in the past eight years. Along the way his teams have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 10 times, the Elite 8 four times and the Final Four three times, including UofL’s current pursuit of a national championship.
Pitino’s team has incurred a serious blow with the loss of Kevin Ware, but rest assured he will dedicate himself to inspiring the remaining players to reach deep in the semifinal game against a dangerous Wichita State. They are too committed, too talented and so driven at this point that failure is not an option.
A great honor, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, one to be cherished, commanding respect. A possible distraction during a Final Four weekend? No way. He has so much more to accomplish with his team.