Might Rick Pitino be returning to a sideline near you sometime soon? If longtime college basketball commentator Dick Vitale gets his way, then yes.
Vitale took to Twitter on Tuesday and reccomended that UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero hire Pitino.
Hey on this NEW YEAR’S DAY / @UCLA lovers pls give a call to AD Dan Guerrero who I respect & tell him to hire RICK PITINO / they will be Top 10 & relevant INSTANTLY / yes will take lots of GUTS to get that done but the rewards would be SUPER! @latbbolch @BillPlaschke
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 1, 2019
This would unquestionably be a controversial move. Pitino left Louisville in disgrace back in 2017 as a result of a “pay for play” recruiting scandal in which he profited greatly.
On the court, Pitino’s track record can’t be questioned. He’s seven five Final Four teams and won two National Championships. He remains the only coach in college basketball history to win a National Championship with two different teams (Kentucky in 1996, Louisville in 2013). Two of Pitino’s Final Four appearances (2012 and 2013) and the 2013 National Championship were vacated in the aftermath of the aforementioned scandal.
Pitino is currently coaching Panathinaikos B.C. — a pro Greek team — for the remainder of the season.
UCLA started the season 4-0. Since then, the Bruins have won only three of nine games to fall to 7-6. A 73-58 loss to Liberty was UCLA’s fourth-straight loss. Shortly thereafter, coach Steve Alford was fired.