Up until a couple of seasons ago, questions surrounding Rick Pitino’s future dealt with whether he would return to the professional basketball ranks or accept another college coaching job elsewhere. This time around the issue is retirement and how much longer the University of Louisville coach will stick around.
Pitino first mentioned the possibility of retiring last season when his team got knocked out of the Big East tournament. He later said he had made a personal assessment of whether he wanted to continue coaching. He brought it up again this week after his team lost to Morehead State in the first round of the the NCAA tournament., indicating that if he were going to retire, he would want to go out with a group like the kind of players he had on this season’s team.
The man has done pretty well with what he’s had to work with, even though many Louisville fans are disappointed that he has yet to win another national championship. The expectations of the fans and the aspirations he has for himself are steep, making the early outs in NCAA tournament action so much more disappointing.
With the recruiting class Pitino is bringing in next season, he will be working with the most talented group of players he’s had in 11 seasons at U of L. Bringing in top-level talent for a change might make a difficult job a little easier.
With Pitino, however, one never knows for certain. What he says and does are often two different things. He obviously enjoys the attention and nobody enjoys winning anymore than he. He may be around for a couple of more seasons, or he may be one of those guys who has to be pushed out the door.
The only thing for certain is he’s thinking about his legacy, or he wouldn’t keep bringing up the subject of retirement. Reaching the pinnacle again might make his decision easier.