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Rick Pitino opens up on time at Louisville, role in scandals, future in coaching in One2One interview

In the fall of 2017, Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino found himself without a job. After surviving two huge scandals at Louisville, including the infamous stripper scandal that produced a book by a former escort about how she helped woo recruits on campus during visits, Pitino had run out of chances. Federal authorities that fall alleged that Louisville paid $100,000 to land five-star recruit Brian Bowen, and that was it. He was out.

Pitino denied the allegations of the scandal that ultimately cost him his job of 16 years — and still does to this day, saying in the aftermath the allegations were “a complete shock” to him — but it didn’t stop what was to come. The Louisville athletic board voted to fire him weeks later citing “just cause” for his role in the scandal. Pitino fought the decision by filing suit for the $38.7 million left on his deal at the time of his ouster. Louisville, in response to Pitino’s rush to court, did the same by filing a countersuit in which they claimed he was an “active wrongdoer.” It was as nasty a parting of ways as you might imagine.

Rather than sitting on his hands, Pitino looked for work and found it overseas coaching Panathinaikos, a Greek Basket League juggernaut, for the last year. He led them to the Greek Basketball Cup before deciding earlier this year he would not return, the latest swerve in a series of them for Pitino.

So what’s he up to now? Pitino is back stateside tending to personal matters, a huge reason he says he turned down the opportunity to return to Panathinaikos. He isn’t coaching as of yet, but he’s not ruling it out, either. 

In an exclusive interview with Lesley Visser for One2One, which will air at 9:30 p.m. ET Friday night on CBS Sports Network, Pitino, in fact says he had his eyes on Providence — where he coached from 1985 to 1987 — earlier this year.

“The only thing that I’ll say is Ed Cooley was rumored to go to Michigan,” Pitino said. “The only thing that got my juices flowing and excited was if he takes the Michigan job I could possibly go back to Providence College.”

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