Pitino, the former head basketball coach for the University of Louisville, reflects on his coaching career up to his being fired in 2017 amid accusations of illegal recruiting in this candid, fast-paced memoir. He hits the highlights of his jobs at Syracuse University, Boston University, the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, and finally Louisville in 2001. Tension builds when Pitino discusses the end of his Louisville career. In 2016, a scandal developed when one of his coaches, Andre McGee, paid for strippers and prostitutes to entertain the teammates and other recruits. In May 2017, the NCAA stripped Louisville of its 2013 NCAA men’s basketball championship title; just a few months later, Pitino was fired from Louisville. Pitino offers a clear account of how the investigation unraveled, though the narrative is dotted with flashes of anger and frustration (“The DOJ did not give a damn about protecting my identity” throughout the investigation, he writes). Toward the end, Pitino writes, “Why would someone who has coached in seven Final Fours suddenly have to cheat?”; from there he lays out a convincing case for his innocence. Pitino’s memoir is strongly argued and insightful. (Sept.)
Here, from Pitino himself, comes the real story of the ongoing case and the hard truth about how college hoops has been pushed to the brink of disaster by greed, bad actors, and shoe company money.
Rick Pitino has spent a lifetime in basketball. He is the recruiting and coaching maestro behind Final Four appearances with three different teams, and National Championships at two of them. He worked the early days of the legendary Five-Star camp and scouted players without the influence of agents, runners, or shoe companies. And he has run today’s recruiting gauntlet of sports apparel marketing, corrupted assistant coaches, unethical youth coaches, and powerful organizations hellbent against him. Rick Pitino has seen it all, dealt with it all, and now tells it all while offering his take on what needs to be done to save the game he loves.
Pitino is the story of an epic coaching career and the evolution of NCAA basketball to the multi-billion-dollar enterprise it is today. It is also a master’s course on the arts of coaching and recruiting. And in the telling, the one and only Rick Pitino lays all his cards on the table in addressing scandals of his past and the current headline-grabbing investigation that led a packed Board of Directors at Louisville to derail his career.
This book charts the journey of a coach who became a Hall of Famer. When I first saw him at the famed Five-Star basketball camp run by Howard Garfinkel, I knew he was headed for stardomhis motivational and inspirational skills were off the charts. And throughout his career he’s been a master at work as a clinician in practice. More than thirty assistants he’s mentored have become household names in college basketball. While he shares the good, the bad, and the ugly of his life in our sportincluding the unvarnished truth behind today’s sensational headlinesI know one thing: We miss him on the sidelines.”Dick Vitale, ESPN College Basketball Analyst and member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
“Obviously he has had an incredible impact on my life as a coach, but not in the way most people think. It was not about X’s and O’s. It was about how to conduct yourself in a cut throat business. He showed me integrity every day in every way.... Working at Providence for Coach Pitino set me up with a foundation of never putting winning ahead of what is right.” Jeff Van Gundy, NBA analyst, former head coach of the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets
“[A] clear account of how the investigation unraveled. . . . [Pitino] lays out a convincing case for his innocence. . . . strongly argued and insightful.” Publishers Weekly
“Besides my parents, there is not another person who has taught me more about the game, life, and what it takes to be successful.” Billy Donovan, head coach, Oklahoma Thunder
“Working for Coach Pitino, there was always a stern directive to follow every and all of the NCAA’s rules. Every detail of how we did things had to be by the book. We were going to outwork everyone, but it had to be within the rules.” Frank Vogel, head coach, Orlando Magic
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