Seems like yesterday local TV news helicopters were tracking Rick Pitino from the Clark County Airport in Southern Indiana on his way to becoming the University of Louisville basketball coach. The surprising hire by Tom Jurich would create joy in Louisville, but sadness, even anger, elsewhere in the state.
Since becoming U of L coach in 2001, Pitino has compiled a 154-59 record, including four NCAA tournament appearances, among them one trip to the Final Four. He has embraced the university in many ways, including support for a dorm to honor the memory of his friend Billy Minardi. The coach has said often that he plans to retire here.
Pitino now has an overall 499-183 won-loss record. Now he is eyeing his 500 victory, another significant milestone in a remarkable career. The coach may briefly acknowledge No. 500 but he will move on quickly. Pitino continues to set new goals for himself and the people who surround him, and his goals are very high for the U of L basketball program.