Four years ago, Louisville coach Rick Pitino made history when he became the first college basketball head coach to win championships at different schools.
Pitino is coaching royalty, winning titles at in-state rival schools Louisville and Kentucky, as well as having two coaching stints in the NBA with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Now Pitino is taking his acumen from the bench to the actual court.
Pitino suited up to play in an over-the-hill basketball league with other seniors.
From CBS Sports:
Louisville basketball coach and Hall of Famer Rick Pitino scored nine points on three 3-pointers in his 55-and-over men’s league game loss at Coral Springs Gymnasium in Coral Springs, Florida, on Tuesday afternoon.
That’s a sentence that is based off real events that actually took place. I still can’t believe I wrote it.
The 64-year-old Pitino is hooping with the whitehairs, and this might be one of the best things we witness this offseason. I can only presume Coral Springs is the feeder system to the Del Boca Vista circuit.
Thankfully, more is coming because Pitino is going to be balling all week. Via Cardinal Connect, Pitino announced in January that he would be doing this … just because someone asked him to, I believe: “Not only do I have the pressure of the toughest conference of all time and the toughest schedule we’ve ever faced, but come May eighth through twelfth, I’ve got to be in a 55-year-old’s basketball tournament and bring my game back,” he said at the time.
Pitino, who played at UMass in the early 1970s, had a solid college career (329 assists in three seasons).
Based on the limited footage that’s escaped, Pitino’s shot mechanics and defense could use some work. He also took a bad, walk-up three with a defender in his face and plenty of time left on the shot clock.
Coach Pitino would probably rip player Pitino for such shot selection.
Pitino’s former Louisville player Russ Smith, known for talking ill-advised shots, ribbed his coach, saying he would “sub his a– out” for taking a “contested shot.”
All kidding aside, props to Pitino for shaking off 16 years of rust and playing organized hoops.
During his challenging run as the Celtics’ head coach, Pitino, referencing Boston fans’ propensity for living in the past, famously said, “Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door. Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they’re gonna be gray and old.”
With Pitino himself turning back the clock, perhaps Bird, McHale, and Parish will walk through that door.