BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Rick Pitino probably won’t be walking through the door at Louisville anymore.
The Cardinals have placed the head coach on unpaid administrative leave amid the scandal that rocked the world of college basketball on Tuesday. Pitino’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal that Pitino was “effectively fired” on Wednesday.
The FBI arrested 10 people on Tuesday, including four assistant coaches at major D1 schools and two Adidas executives, as federal prosecutors say at least three top high school recruits were promised payments of as much as $150,000 (money supplied by Adidas) to attend two universities sponsored by the athletic shoe company. Court papers didn’t name the schools and no Cardinals staff members were arrested, but there were enough details in the report to identify one of them as Louisville.
Pitino was the highest-paid coach in college basketball, making $7.8 million a year, and has a clause in his contract that will allow him to contest his dismissal. That clause probably won’t be enough to save him this time, and he’ll likely be out of a job within the next week.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was also put on administrative leave on Wednesday.
Pitino released a statement on Tuesday saying the allegations “came as a complete shock” and that he was “committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.” Those could be his final words as head coach at Louisville.
One of the most successful coaches in the college ranks, Pitino led both Kentucky and Louisville to a national title. But his career has also been marred in various scandals. At the moment, Pitino and Louisville are appealing sanctions from the NCAA following a sex scandal involving the coach that rocked the school two years ago.
Pitino, 65, coached Louisville to a 416-123 record over his 16 years at the school, winning an NCAA Championship in 2013. The Hall of Famer also won a title at Kentucky in 1996 and racked up a 770-271 record in his 30-plus years on the bench, which included stops at Boston University and Providence.
He failed miserably when he jumped from Kentucky to the NBA in 1997, leading the Celtics to a 102-146 record in his three-plus seasons in Boston. He demanded total control of the franchise upon his arrival, and abruptly quit after a 12-22 start in the 2000-01 season, months after he ripped Boston for its negativity.
He also served as head coach of the New York Knicks for two seasons from 1987-89, going 90-74 during the regular season with a pair of postseason berths.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)