In an activity that involves a team, it is important to have a leader who directs the team, who serves as the compass to achieve the team’s goals. In the corporate world, they are called managers and in sports, they are called coaches. While they are not the most paid nor do they serve in the most glamorous position in the process unlike their corporate counterparts, they are still one of the most important elements in a team’s success. There is a statement usually said in sports – When a team does well, it is the players’ efforts. When they don’t, it is the fault of the coach. Despite this gigantic and unbalanced responsibility, some have still offered to dedicate themselves to be the guiding light that direct teams to glory. Rick Pitino is one of such men.
Who Is Rick Pitino?
Rick Pitino is a well decorated former basketball coach. Pitino, who was born in New York on September 18, 1952, was a coach for over 40 years before his firing in 2017. He started his life with a major interest in basketball. Although he was raised in Bayville, he attended high school at Oyster Bay in Long Island where he was the captain of St. Dominic High School basketball team.
After his graduation from St. Dominic and a high school career that impressed college scouts, he was offered a basketball scholarship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1970. By the time he finished his career at UMass, he had racked up over 329 assists and placed him on the 10th All-Time Assist table.
Before he was coaching NBA players and answering journalist questions under the spotlight, he was teammates with a future NBA legend, Julius Erving at UMass. Pitino graduated in 1974.
No one can really say if it was out of a passion for coaching or the realization he wouldn’t cut it at the highest level of basketball in the NBA, Pitino opted to become an assistant coach after his graduation. He got his first coaching job at the University of Hawaii in the same year of college graduation in 1974. He was given his opportunity by Jim Boeheim.
During his time at Hawaii, and perhaps a sign of what to come in Pitino’s career, he was implicated in an investigation by the NCAA in 1977 and was placed on probation. While he was at Hawaii, he served as an assistant coach and interim head coach.
After Hawaii, he got his first official Head Coaching job at Boston University. His collegiate basketball legend started at Boston, leading the team to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 24 years after seasons of the team winning just 17 games.
A rising star like him usually do not stay in a team very long and shortly after his exploits at Boston, he was recruited by Providence College after a short stint as an assistant coach in the NBA for the New York Knicks. His turnaround of the Providence team culminated in a Final Four appearance for a team that had an 11-20 record just two years prior.
After another try as an assistant in the NBA, Pitino returned to college basketball at Kentucky. At Kentucky, he won his first NCAA tournament in 1996. Although he wasn’t able to replicate the achievement in the following season, he took the team to the finals where they lost in overtime.
Pitino’s time solidified his career in many ways. He achieved multiple career honors while at the helm of the University’s college team. He took the team and made them a force to be reckoned with, winning the Championship in 2013.
As a coach, players aren’t the only persons whose development you are tasked with. Pitino has played a significant role in the coaching career of a few other coaches such as Billy Donovan, Reggie Theus, Mick Cronin, and a few others. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Net Worth and Salary
As a superstar coach at the college level and long NBA experience, Rick is one of the highest paid coaches in the game. His achievements and media profile makes him a gold mine for any team who has him at the helm of their team. He has a current net worth of $45 million and before he was fired from Louisville, had an average salary of $5 million per year.
Rick Pitino’s Wife, Son
Rick is married to his wife, Joanne Minardi. The couple got married in 1976 and have had six children. Rick and his wife, Joanne have however suffered the tragedy of losing a child, their son Daniel, to heart failure in 1987. Their five living children are Michael, Ryan, Jacqueline, Christopher, and Richard who is currently a coach like his father at Minnesota.
Scandal and Affair, Why was He Fired?
Rick Pitino has been a subject of scandals right from the beginning of his career. His string of scandals includes an extortion case in 2009 against Karen Sypher. Karen had accused Pitino of rape, however, after an investigation by the FBI, Karen was sentenced to jail for extortion and lying to the FBI. Pitino was cleared of all rape charges although he admitted to having sex with her.
His ultimate scandal started in 2015 in a book by a former escort who alleged that Pitino’s assistant had been paying sex workers for four years to have sex with Louisville players. Although it started as a light story, it led to the firing of Pitino who was further implicated in a pay for play scandal that was investigated by the Department of Justice.