Rick Pitino’s roller coaster week continued on Friday, when sources confirmed that the Louisville head coach will be a part of the next class inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Ian O’Connor of ESPNNewYork.com initially reported the news, followed by followed by Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com who also confirmed it. The official announcement will take place on Monday. Pitino will be joined by former UNLV and Fresno State head coach Jerry Tarkanian and Guy Lewis, the coach behind Houston’s Phi Slama Jama team.
“It would mean a lot to me and my family, but it really exemplifies what I’ve done for athletes and coaches,” Pitino told reporters recently. “And if that day comes, it would mean a lot to share with them. So it’s not something I think about, but it’s something I would be very, very proud of.”
Not surprising Pitino got the call. He was named a finalist in February and is heading to his seventh Final Four, which includes a NCAA title with Kentucky in 1996. Pitino was the first coach to take three different schools — Providence, Kentucky and Louisville — to the Final Four. Pitino likely would have been inducted sooner, if it wasn’t for two separate stints on the NBA sidelines. The Basketball Hall of Fame allows active coaches to be inducted after their 25th season. Pitino is in his 27th as a college coach.
Tarkanian went to four Final Fours, winning a title in 1990 with the Runnin’ Rebels. Lewis won 592 games in his 30 seasons as a head coach, taking Houston to a handful of Final Fours.
Reports also confirm that Gary Payton will join the Class of 2013. The 2013 enshrinement will take place in September in Springfield, Mass.