Pitino Haters Signing Up

Cat fans are pulling out the Sharpies and the cardboard already, preparing their hate signs for the bi-annual assault on Rick Pitino as he delivers the Cards to Lexington. The hardliners have never got over Pitino leaving, believing Pitino is more to blame for their current woes than Tubby Smith and Billy Gillispie combined.

Wonder if the Louisville executive, who hired a local design firm to do his personal Hate-Pitino sign for Rupp Arena in 2001, is up to his old antics again? Wouldn’t surprise this observer at all.

They still have little regard for the coach who pulled them out of the swamp in the mid-nineties. The scandal-ridden Kentucky basketball team had taken a nosedive, earning a front cover on Sports Illustrated with the headline, “Kentucky’s Shame” UK President David Rochelle declared that Kentucky’s basketball program was “going down the plumbling,”okaying more than $350,000 in legal fees.

The outlook changed dramatically after Pitino brought his drive to succeed in high gear to Lexington, delivering three Final Four appearances and a national championship. Pitino ball worked then, three-pointers were excessive, the fast break and the full court press consistently devoured the opposition. His teams humbled Denny Crum, helping to hurry up the end of a great career. The Cats had everything going for them, even won another title with Pitino’s players after he left for Boston.

That’s old news, only part of a “great” tradition. The fanatics believe it happened because they are Kentucky, that winning was their birthright, that UK made Pitino successful instead of vice versa. Some would even pull the Pitino banner down from the rafters.

Go ahead. Draw up those hate signs. Just don’t expect Pitino to save you again.

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Charlie Springer

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

4 thoughts on “Pitino Haters Signing Up

  • January 3, 2008 at 6:06 pm
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    I have yet to see Pitino save UofL. One Final Four in his stay here with arguably top notch recruiting classes every year? I love the Cards as much as the next guy but we are still losing to Dayton every year.

  • January 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm
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    Well, he has taken us to the Final Four already. He also has recruited a top five recruiting class for next year. How about giving it a little time instead of carping after a loss. U of L will never be invincible. We are subject to the same flaws as other human beings.

  • January 4, 2008 at 3:08 am
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    He has been here how long? Six years? Seven years? How long is it exactly supposed to take? This was supposed to be his best team since he’s been here and we lose to Dayton AGAIN! Yeah, I know, injuries… Well, the good teams overcome the injuries and press on, not get eliminated from the first weekend of the tournament year after year.

  • January 4, 2008 at 3:31 am
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    Ever heard of karma? The recent losses to Dayton are payback for the Cards defeating the Flyer three times during the 1955-56 season, including the NIT championship, then the most prestigious title in college basketball.

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