Rick Pitino has proved his worth as a professional basketball coach. He has led teams in the NBA and beyond to glory, raising incredible players and coaches like Patrick Ewing, Mark Jackson, and Billy Donovan. A well-decorated coach, Pitino has been on the scene for over 40 years. While he is admired for leading Louisville to a national championship in 2013, he was associated with one scandal too many that ultimately led to the termination of his contract with the Cardinals. Beyond why he was fired, get facts about his career, net worth, and family life.
Rick Pitino’s Net Worth and How He Earned It
It was pretty obvious right from his day in high school that Rick would make a living out of basketball. He was the captain of his basketball team at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, Long Island. With a high school career that impressed college scouts, he was offered a basketball scholarship upon graduation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1970. He racked up over 329 assists which placed him on the top 10 All-Time Assist table by the time he completed his collegiate career in 1974.
Instead of joining the NBA as a player, Rick Pitino opted to become a coach after his graduation. His first job was in 1974, it had him serve as an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii. He later served the institution as an interim head coach before moving on to work with several teams in NCAA Division 1 as well as in the NBA.
His first official job as a head coach was at Boston University and it lasted from 1978 to 1983. Pitino led the team to their first NCAA tournament appearance after 24 dull years. In 1985, he joined Providence College which was followed by a two-year stint as a head coach in the NBA for the New York Knicks, from 1987 to 1989. He returned to college basketball with the Kentucky Wildcats, leading them to their first NCAA championship in 1996. His second run in the NBA was with the Boston Celtics from 1997 to 2001. Thereafter, he coached the Cardinals of the University of Louisville from 2001 to 2017.
Following his dismissal in 2017, Rick Pitino became the coach of the Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League. He is also the head coach of Greece’s senior national team.
Pitino is one of the highest-paid coaches around and this accounts for the wealth he has accumulated over the years. Despite losing $55 million in future contract compensation after his contract with Louisville was terminated, his net worth has been estimated at a massive $45 million. His annual income is not known but when he was with Louisville, he had an average annual salary of $7.7 million.
Work Scandals and Why He Was Fired
Scandals have always been a part of Rick Pitino’s career journey. During his time with Hawaii, and perhaps a sign of what was to come, he was implicated in an investigation by the NCAA and placed on probation; that was in 1977. In 2009, he was mired down in a case against Karen Sypher who accused him of rape. However, after an investigation by the FBI, she was sentenced to 87 months in prison for extortion and lying to the FBI while Pitino was cleared of all rape charges, although he admitted to having consensual sex with her.
The ultimate of all scandals started in 2015 when a book by a former escort alleged that Pitino’s assistant has been providing sex workers to players at private parties on campus. Although Pitino denied this, he was suspended in June 2017 by the NCAA for five games.
Rick was further implicated in a pay for play scandal investigated by the Department of Justice in September 2017. It was alleged that an Adidas executive paid $100,000 for the recruitment of a 5-star forward, Brian Bowen, into Louisville. Pitino was first placed on unpaid administrative leave before he was eventually fired in October 2017.
What You Should Know About The Family of Rick Pitino
Rick’s interest in basketball started long ago in New York City, New York where he was born as Richard Andrew Pitino on September 18, 1952. He attended the same high school as Joanne Minardi, who later became his wife.
The duo tied the knots in 1976 and has been together since then, weathering through the scandals. Rick and his wife had six children. Unfortunately, they suffered the tragedy of losing a child, their son Daniel, to congenital heart failure in 1987; he was only 6 months old.
Their surviving children are Ryan and Jacqueline, their daughters; and sons: Christopher, Michael, and Richard. The latter is also a coach. As of this writing, he serves as the head coach of the Golden Gophers of the University of Minnesota.