Rick Pitino was a guest last night on SiriusXM’s “Basketball and Beyond” radio show. During the interview, Pitino went into great detail about how he actually had agreed to become the next head coach at Michigan in 2001, but backed out at the very last minute and decided to take the Louisville job instead.
“The day that I committed to Louisville, I signed an agreement to be the next head coach of Michigan and I was fired up to be the coach at Michigan,” Pitino said. “The athletic director at the time, who’s no longer there (Bill Martin), was playing squash and my wife came up, she just didn’t want me to go to the west coast, UNLV, and be away from the children. She agreed, okay let’s go to Michigan.”
During the interview Pitino jokingly mentioned that his wife had called him out for being scared of taking the Louisville job because he’d have to go back to Kentucky where he had previously coached. Pitino and his wife eventually agreed that Louisville would be a better situation and tried to call Bill Martin to inform him, but had some trouble tracking him down due to a squash match.
“I tried to call the A.D. at Michigan between 12 and 1,” he recalled. “I had a false name. I would give him a fake name and he would call me back. I couldn’t get a hold of him because he was playing squash. The secretary said he demands that he doesn’t get interrupted unless it’s an emergency and if you want you can leave a voicemail.
“I left a voicemail and went to Louisville and I’m really happy I did.”
I’d always known that Louisville had been one of the many schools that were interested in Pitino in 2001, but I never knew of these exact details. It makes you wonder where both Louisville and Pitino would be right now had he taken the Michigan job instead.