The week before the 9-11 tragedy in 2001, Rick Pitino played golf with his best friend Billy Minardi, anticipating the upcoming basketball season. Billy told his friend that he would be able to attend 14 of 17 U of L home games that season.

As Sports Illustrated noted, “The pair had been as inseparable as two men separated by geography can be, calling each other on the way to their jobs to talk about their New York Yankees, getting together for golf outings and vacations and holidays.”

Today’s game against New Mexico State is designated as the Billy Minardi Classic. Proceeds from the Classic continue to aid some of the more than 3,000 families affected by the unforgettable and unforgivable incident.

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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