Recent Posts
About ZagsBlog
Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Follow Zags on Twitter
Contact Zags
Connect with Zags:
Wednesday / February 20.
  • Louisville officially fires Rick Pitino, Adidas cuts ties with Hall of Fame coach

    Share Zagsblog Share Zagsblog
    The Rick Pitino Era at Louisville is officially over.

    The Louisville Athletic Association voted unanimously Monday to terminate Pitino with cause as its men’s basketball coach.

    Here’s the official statement:

    Pitino, 65, has $44 million remaining in salary and bonuses in a contract extension through the 2025-26 season. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $5.1 million.

    He has coached 16 years with the program, a run that included winning the 2013 NCAA championship but was tarnished by several embarrassing off-court incidents. He is the only man to win NCAA championships at two different schools — Kentucky and Louisville.

    Meantime, Adidas also cut ties with the Hall of Fame coach, as reported by the Louisville Courier Journal.

    “In light of the decision by the University of Louisville, adidas has terminated its personal services agreement with Rick Pitino, effective immediately,” Adidas spokeswoman Maria Culp wrote in an emailed statement to the paper. 

    Pitino’s attorney previously told the Louisville Athletic Association that it should not fire the coach of the men’s basketball program because his client “could not have known” about activities alleged in a national federal investigation of the sport.

    Steve Pence made his case Monday while the ULAA was meeting to discuss whether to fire Pitino nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged the program’s involvement in the investigation. The association board is still meeting and has not announced its decision.

    The association, a separate body that oversees Louisville’s sports programs and comprised of trustees, faculty, students and administrators, on Oct. 2 authorized university interim President Greg Postel to begin the process of firing Pitino for cause after Postel placed him on unpaid administrative leave Sept. 27.

    Piton is not named in court complaints in the federal probe but Postel said in a disciplinary letter that the allegations violated his contract. Ten people that have been arrested in the corruption case , including four college assistant coaches and an Adidas executive.

    Pence has contended that Louisville rushed to judgment and made his case before the board for 45 minutes on Monday that Pitino should be retained.

    “The coach did not engage in any of this activity, he didn’t know about the activity,” Pence said. “I think we made a very compelling case to the board, I think they listened attentively and we’ll just have to wait and see what they say.”

    Pence entered the meeting holding a poster board for presentation to the ULAA. The attorney later distributed a detailed 55-page document that includes letters of support for the coach, including one from David Padgett, who was named as Pitino’s interim replacement on Sept. 29.

    The statements also included an affidavit from Pitino in which the coach said he “had no part — active, passive or through willful ignorance in the conspiracy described in the complaint.”

    The attorney’s statement included a polygraph result indicating that Pitino was not deceptive in answering that he did not pay signee Brian Bowen’s family or knew that Bowen’s family was paid.

    For more on the Bowen situation, read our New York Times story here.

     

    (Gary B. Graves of the AP contributed)

    Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter

    And Like ZAGS on Facebook

     

     

    Written by

    [email protected]

    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.