In September, Rick Pitino said he did not like his chances of a return to coaching after his scandal-plagued exit from Louisville, writing in his autobiography that "my coaching career is possibly finished" and telling ESPN that "I'm not really thinking about coaching again in the future because I'm not in control of that. I feel it's over for me."


 


Or not.


 


Pitino said in

In September, Rick Pitino said he did not like his chances of a return to coaching after his scandal-plagued exit from Louisville, writing in his autobiography that "my coaching career is possibly finished" and telling ESPN that "I'm not really thinking about coaching again in the future because I'm not in control of that. I feel it's over for me."

 

Or not.

 

Pitino said in an ESPN story published Monday morning that he will spend this basketball season immersing himself in the NBA game in the hopes that he can land a head coaching position in professional basketball.

 

"I just want to be a part of an organization," Pitino told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. "I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I'm using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I'd have deep interest in it.

 

"I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That's my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success."

 

Pitino, 66, has had two stints as an NBA head coach, spending two seasons with the New York Knicks from 1987 to 1989 and four seasons leading the Boston Celtics from 1997 to 2001. And while he found some success in New York - the Knicks won 52 games, their most in 16 years, and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1989 - his NBA career was not successful as a whole: Pitino failed to win more than 36 games as Celtics coach and had just the one winning season in New York.

 

Pitino was far more accomplished as a college coach, winning one national championship at Kentucky and another at Louisville and leading seven teams to the Final Four. But Louisville officials forced him out in October 2017 after his program was ensnared in a federal pay-for-play investigation involving shoe company officials. Pitino's Cardinals also had been the subject of an NCAA investigation centered around the allegations of a self-described former escort who claimed that a Louisville assistant paid her and other women to perform sex acts on high school recruits in the team's dormitory. As a result of that probe, the NCAA vacated the Cardinals' 2013 national title and 2012 Final Four appearance.

 

Wojnarowski reported that Pitino's chances of an NBA return do not appear to be great.

 

"In all likelihood, Pitino has a bigger obstacle to returning to the NBA than NCAA failings: convincing league executives and owners that his ego would allow him to be a willing partner with a front office," he wrote. "Many GMs say that they'd be hesitant on Pitino based on the belief that he'd be difficult to coexist with, especially in the turbulence of a rebuild."

 

Pitino also was the Celtics' team president during his time in Boston, but he told Wojnarowski that he's focused solely on returning to the bench and not a front office.