On September 26, 2017, the biggest recruiting scandal in college basketball history sent shock waves through the world of sports. Caught up in a massive FBI and NCAA investigation—and the intense media spotlight—was Rick Pitino, the Louisville Cardinals’ Hall of Fame coach.
Here, from Pitino himself, comes the real story of the ongoing case and the hard truth about how college hoops has been pushed to the brink of disaster by greed, bad actors, and shoe company money.
Rick Pitino has spent a lifetime in basketball. He is the recruiting and coaching maestro behind Final Four appearances with three different teams, and National Championships at two of them. He worked the early days of the legendary Five-Star camp and scouted players without the influence of agents, runners, or shoe companies. And he has run today’s recruiting gauntlet of sports apparel marketing, corrupted assistant coaches, unethical youth coaches, and powerful organizations hellbent against him. Rick Pitino has seen it all, dealt with it all, and now tells it all.
Pitino is the story of an epic coaching career and the evolution of NCAA basketball to the multi-billion-dollar enterprise it is today. It is also a master’s course on the arts of coaching and recruiting. And in the telling, the one and only Rick Pitino lays all his cards on the table in addressing scandals of his past and the current headline-grabbing investigation that led a packed Board of Directors at Louisville to derail his career.
Pitino, the former head basketball coach for the University of Louisville, reflects on his coaching career up to his being fired in 2017 amid accusations of illegal recruiting in this candid, fast-paced memoir. He hits the highlights of his jobs at Syracuse University, Boston University, the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics, and finally Louisville in 2001. Tension builds when Pitino discusses the end of his Louisville career. In 2016, a scandal developed when one of his coaches, Andre McGee, paid for strippers and prostitutes to entertain the teammates and other recruits. In May 2017, the NCAA stripped Louisville of its 2013 NCAA men's basketball championship title; just a few months later, Pitino was fired from Louisville. Pitino offers a clear account of how the investigation unraveled, though the narrative is dotted with flashes of anger and frustration ("The DOJ did not give a damn about protecting my identity" throughout the investigation, he writes). Toward the end, Pitino writes, "Why would someone who has coached in seven Final Fours suddenly have to cheat?"; from there he lays out a convincing case for his innocence. Pitino's memoir is strongly argued and insightful.
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At any other book store, the book is 9.99, here is almost double the price. How you make sense of that? Price adjustment iTunes.
My love for college sports came to an end the day the University of Louisville interim president and board of directors fired Coach Rick Pitino and Tom Jurich. The lack of respect for 2 men that did so much for for the entire university (not just sports), is disheartening. At the very least they should have been given the opportunity to choose to retire after the following basketball season, so they could receive the proper respect and send off they deserved. The fans deserved that opportunity as well. Because of the aforementioned reasons, and the fact that the current board and administration refuse to think of the dedicated fans and fight for our championship banner to be reinstated, I will never attend or follow another University of Louisville game. As a lifelong dedicated fan, my heart is broken. This book finally gives the other side of the story. It is without a doubt in my mind the absolute truth. This book lays it all out there for the fans and the world to see. Thank you Coach Pitino for writing it. One regret of mine through this story is the fact that Tom Jurich sat next to me at church at Northeast on what was most likely his last time attending the church he called home for so many years, and I didn’t walk up to him and say thanks for all he had done, and that I was sorry he was treated the way he was. I am also sorry that Coach Pitino was treated the way he was as well, and thank you Coach for all you did for U of L and the fans. Three things I now know for sure:
1) I will never again vote for Matt Bevin
2) I will never ever eat anything from Papa Johns
3) I will never attend another U of L game until they apologize to Rick and Tom, offer a sincere apology to both of them and their families and put up a statue of them together on campus.
Without them, U of L would not be where it is today, both athletically and academically.
Having studied Rick Pitino and his teams since his early years at Boston University, having read every word of each book he has written and others about him, I looked forward to this one. He is an eloquent, organized, passionate leader whose professional success warrants success. For his sake, I hope that the case he has laid out proves to be proven true in the years of litigation ahead. Rick's ultimate contention that God knows the truth is indeed reality, and I pray it is revealed. I hope to see Coach Pitino on the court once again when truth comes to light.