According to ESPN, Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September. The announcement of the 2013 class will be made on Monday before the NCAA National Championship game.
If true then it is an honor that Pitino is definitely deserving of. He is undoubtedly one of the best coaches of his generation, with a record of 662-239. Those 662 victories have come while he has been the head coach of Boston University, Providence, Kentucky, and now Louisville. Pitino has been to the Final Four seven times, including this season’s trip.
Pitino is the only men’s coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four. Pitino is also part of an elite coaching club that has taken his team to the Final Four in four separate decades, the only other three coaches to do so are Dean Smith, Jim Boeheim, and Mike Krzyzewski. That’s pretty elite company.
Pitino’s lone national championship title came in 1996 when he coached that famed stacked Kentucky squad. That team was sick! Just loaded with NBA Talent. For those of you too young to remember or to have seen it, his Kentucky teams were looked at the same way Kentucky is looked at today under coach John Calipari. Grooming grounds for NBA talent.
Pitino has now been to the Final Four two consecutive seasons with Louisville, and this year he may very well get his second national championship title. To go along with his success coaching on the court, Pitino has successfully mentored former players and assistant coaches of his into becoming successful head coaches themselves. Billy Donovan, and Tubby Smith, are two of the most notable. Earlier in the week Pitino’s son, Richard Pitino who was an assistant to his father, was hired as the head coach at Minnesota.
As you can see Pitino has had an outstanding coaching career so far, winning games, making Final Four appearances, and a national championship title. Along with mentoring 21 men to become coaches in the game of college basketball. For that reason the Pitino legacy will live on for years as more and more people are touched by he himself and the coaches and players that he has groomed to become coaches themselves.
This is why I say Rick Pitino is most certainly worthy of being a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Job well done.