Is Rick Pitino hall of fame worthy? The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame says he just might be.
This comes after the news that Pitino is among the finalists for induction into the hall for 2013, his friendly competition for the award consists of basketball icons Maurice Cheeks, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Gary Payton, Mitch Richmond, Tim Heinsohn, and Jerry Tarkanian.
Pitino won’t find out if he will be a member of the 2013 class until April 8th but in the meantime discussions will occur at the hall regarding the finalists.
If inducted Pitino will be the second Louisville coach to be inducted; the first being Denny Crum, he would also be the second former Kentucky coach behind Adolph Rupp.
Pitino began his career at the University of Massachusetts where he played as a guard in the early 70’s, the New York City native went on to land his first coaching job as an assistant at Hawaii in 1974; briefly serving as an interim head coach for the team in ’76. Following Hawaii, Pitino went back to New York to work as an assistant at Syracuse, Pitino’s first head coaching job would come at Boston University.
Following BU Pitino had a stint in the NBA as an assistant with the New York Knicks from ’83-’85, following this he stepped back into College to coach at Providence prior to becoming the Knicks head coach in 1989. After leaving the Knicks for the last time, Pitino’s name started to be unavoidable in the state of Kentucky would he became the head coach for the Cats, a tenure that ended when Pitino accepted a job with the Boston Celtics in 1997.
Following an unsuccessful run in Boston, Pitino found his way famously to Kentucky rival Louisville in 2001; where of course he still coaches.
A 1996 NCAA champion, Pitino has been to six final fours thus far, and has won 10 conference championships with the Cards and the Cats combined. He is also a three time regular season champion, and has won the highly prestigious John Wooden coach of the year award in 1987 with Providence.
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