ESPN’s Dick Vitale has been a prominent supporter of former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino throughout the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and fraud in the NCAA.
Ahead of the 2017-18 season, Vitale gave an interview to the New York Post where he championed for Pitino to get a new job.
According to Vitale, Pitino would be a “great hire” for a new school, citing Pitino’s clean record throughout the years — despite what is going on now — and Pitino’s love for the players on his team.
“I agree with Geno Auriemma, who said (he) would hire him in a minute,” Pitino said, referencing previous comments made by the UConn head coach.
“The guy isn’t on probation anywhere he’s ever been. If there was someone looking to make a big hit, I think he would be a great hire. I really do. … He’s made mistakes, no doubt about it. I’ve made mistakes. I am sure you’ve made mistakes. I don’t know how hungry he would be. I know he misses this team because he had told me before any of this happened that this could be the best team he’s had.”
Pitino has maintained his innocence throughout the process and his lawyer recently released a statement claiming the coach had no idea about money be funneled to players and their families.
The FBI investigation, however, is far from over, so this is a cloud that will hang over Pitino’s head for the foreseeable future.
But if Pitino ever is cleared, it’s hard to imagine he wouldn’t get a new gig.