Rick Pitino, Louisville Reach Settlement; Ex-HC Will Not Receive Any Money

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2019

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2018 file photo, former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino appears during a news conference in New York.  Diversion Books announced Monday, July 30 that Pitino has a memoir coming in September 4.
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino and the University of Louisville reached a settlement in a breach of contract lawsuit Wednesday, according to Jeff Greer of The Athletic.

Per Greer, Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra said the school will not pay Pitino any money as part of the settlement. However, the settlement does include "language in Pitino's personnel file that he resigned effective Oct. 3, 2017."

In November 2017, Pitino filed a $37.6 million lawsuit against Louisville alleging breach of contract after it placed him on unpaid administrative leave and then fired him, with Pitino arguing the move was without justifiable cause.

Pitino and the University of Louisville released a joint statement regarding the settlement Wednesday:

"For 17 years, Coach Pitino ran a program that combined excellence on the court with a commitment to the program's student-athletes, their academic achievement, and their futures in and out of basketball. Nevertheless, there were NCAA infractions during his term which led to serious consequences for the university. Although these infractions may not have occurred at Pitino's direction or with his knowledge, the problems leading to NCAA infractions happened under his leadership. We thank Coach Pitino for his years of service to the University of Louisville basketball program and wish him well. Pitino and the University of Louisville have mutually agreed to dismiss their legal claims against each other, designate his departure as a resignation and move forward."

Pitino also released his own statement through his lawyer, Steve Pence:

"Today I move on to a new chapter in my life. Against my lawyer's advice, I'm dropping my lawsuit with ULAA. I am very proud of the many accomplishments my teams achieved at Louisville. I'm so thankful and honored to coach such dedicated athletes. I'm also disappointed in how it ended. But as head coach I am held responsible for the actions of all team members. I still have so much passion for the game and so many goals I want to achieve. From this day forward I start my climb."

Pitino's firing came after an FBI probe alleged Brian Bowen was paid in order to commit to Louisville and Adidas. Pitino denied any knowledge of such payments.

Previously, Pitino was suspended five games in 2017-18 for failure to monitor his basketball program. That came in the wake of former Louisville director of basketball operations Andre McGee allegedly paying escorts to have sex with prospective players as a recruiting tactic.

Over the course of four seasons, Pitino and the Cardinals had 123 wins vacated because of NCAA violations. That included a Final Four appearance in 2012 and national championship win in 2013.

Officially, Pitino went 647-392 during his 16 seasons at Louisville. Unofficially, he reached the NCAA tournament 13 times with five Elite Eight appearances, two Final Fours and one national title.

After departing Louisville, Pitino served as the head coach of Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League in 2018-19. Pitino led Panathinaikos to a Greek Basketball Cup title, but it was eliminated in the EuroLeague playoffs.

The 66-year-old Pitino left Panathinaikos in June with an eye toward landing an NBA job, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

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