Pitino Rumors Enliven Off Season … Yet Again

By Charlie Springer

Press conference? No press conference? An interest in returning to NBA? Specifically to the Sacramento Kings?

Right on schedule, Rick Pitino rumors are swirling again. Sources here, sources there, even in Sacramento. Sorry Sac Town, you’re too far out of mainstream media to be taken seriously.

Don’t count on anything being clarified any time soon, however. Pitino obviously enjoys the speculation, the mystique of being the savior of another basketball team, college or pro, and the lusting that comes with it, entire fan bases getting overwrought, out of kilter over the issue.

There may be reason for U of L fans to be concerned.

The humiliating loss to Michigan State in the NCAA’s Elite Eight may have affected Rick Pitino in ways we have yet to learn.  It was an unexpected return to the ranks of the also-rans in what could have been another milestone season, a third NCAA banner year with a little luck.

Pitino has had considerably more valleys than peaks during his eight seasons at Louisville. He may be getting frustrated with all the challenges here, even if more than a few of them have been self-imposed.

The only thing certain is that Pitino thrives on keeping people guessing about his next move, more often than not, taking the least expected course of action or, equally as often, doing the exact opposite of what he says he going to do. So maybe his silence is a good thing.

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Timely hitting leads Softball Cards to 4-0 win over UConn

By Paul Sykes

Who said UConn is invincible? Using a two run 3rd inning and strong pitching from Kristin Wadwell, the University of Louisville Cardinals advanced to the semifinals this evening in Ulmer Stadium.

Ex-hoopster Patrika Barlow started the 3rd inning barrage with one out, singling up the middle. Vanessa James reached on a fielding error and Melissa Roth singled to right field, scoring Barlow. Kristin Austin smashed a single to left to score James…and the Cards had all the runs they would need.

Louisville added an insurance run in the 4th inning on a sacrifice fly by Roth that scored Christina Roesel. The Cards completed the scoring when Kristi Cunningham drew a walk and then dashed home on a throwing error by the UConn catcher trying to pick her off at third.

Louisville advances to face Notre Dame at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. The Irish knocked off St. John 5-1, allowing the Red Storm only two hits.

USF opened the day’s action with an exciting win over Syracuse 5-4 in nine innings. Tied after eight frames at 1-1, the Bulls pounded Orange pitching for four runs in the top of the 9th, and then held on to win by one.

For the human-interest story of the day…possibly the tournament, consider the story of Bulls pitcher Cristi Ecks. Ecks pitched four strong innings as the starter for the Bulls today, and then came back in as relief to get the final out of the game. It’s a wonder she is out there at all.

While warming up for a game last year against Florida, the junior went into cardiac arrest on the field. Thanks to the quick actions of the Bulls coaching staff, she survived and was cleared by her cardiologist for play this year.

Ecks wears a defibrillator these days and I guess you could say she was the absolutely perfect person to have on the mound this afternoon in the ninth inning in what proved to be a…shall I say it? … heart stopping game. About 50 Bulls fans, including her mother Gloria made the trip from Tampa to see the contest. They face DePaul tomorrow at noon, who won a 1-0 pitching duel over Seton Hall.

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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.

7 thoughts on “Pitino Rumors Enliven Off Season … Yet Again

  • May 7, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    “here may be reason for U of L fans to be concerned.”

    I hope your comment is based on a feeling and not sources

    • May 8, 2009 at 7:29 am

      Gut feelings cardfan84. You just never know what coaches going to do these days. I don’t like it that Pitino has been so quiet since the season ended. That could be because of the extortion threat, or for some other reason but it’s just not like him.

  • May 7, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    According to Kenny Klien, Pitino is not leaving the Cards. However, someone might want to ask Rick about the report on YahooSports.com that claims Pitino or someone associated with Pitino has contacted several NBA teams about coaching opportunities. Yeah, I know. Yahoo Sports. Not exactly the most reliable source out there.

    Two things for certain, though. Rick is in Florida right now and when asked by a C-J reporter about the rumors, Rick joked that said reporter would “have to put up with him a few more years.”

    Personally, I’m thinking it’s just another devious plot started by our friends to the East, giddy with excitement about their new Italian salesman and blissfully unaware or ignoring the baggage and innuendo that will definitely follow Cal to Lessington.

  • May 8, 2009 at 7:05 am

    IF Pitino is thinking of leaving, I’d have to say that John Calipari’s move to Kentucky might play a small part.

    Is the Bluegrass State big enough for both of them???

    They obviously don’t like each other. Remember, it was Pitino’s Wildcats who beat Calipari in the ’96 Final Four, Calipari’s last game at UMASS.

    And when Louisville left Conference USA for the Big East, it could have avoided an exit fee of more than $1 million by continuing its series with Memphis for four years, like Cincinnati did. But Pitino was adamant about not wanting to play the Tigers, something Calipari is still not happy about.

    Pitino Quote: “I don’t pay any attention to John when it comes to begging for officiating. I have heard him since the UMass days talking about the officials. I pay no attention to anything he says. When people start talking about officials, you know they have some psychological problems.”

  • May 8, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Good memory Steve. I can’t speak for the Bluegrass State but there’s plenty of room in Louisville for Rick Pitino’s ego.

  • May 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Oh please…I think RP could care less about what Cal does at yUK – sure, the recruiting will heat up but that’s all good for U of L. I don’t believe Coach is thinking of leaving U of L right now (he is constantly joking about getting old and being tired so why would he want to get back into the NBA rat race again)? How much money could he possibly need?) I back him all the way at U of L but if he leaves (unlike yUK fans when he left there….) I say Best of Luck to you Coach…now TJ, let’s call Tom Izzo. Go CARDS!
    (Charlie,sorry for the long post – postings that run TOO LONG are tiresome)

  • May 9, 2009 at 10:01 am

    You’re right. Pitino would never go to Sac Town. It is not farfetched to say he will be Jimmy C’s successor at U-Conn. Pitino is still far and away the best coach in sport…any sport In the country. And he feeds off handling turmoil.

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