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Rick Pitino is releasing a memoir about his long career in basketball

By Emily Zauzmer
September 05, 2018 03:34 PM
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Rick Pitino wants to tell his side of the story.

The former University of Louisville basketball coach, whose long career was mired in scandal, opened up to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America about his future in the business as he releases his memoir Pitino: My Story.

“It’s over for me. I know that,” Pitino, 65, said. “That’s why I wrote this book… I have to take responsibility for the things that have gone wrong.”

He noted, “It was sort of a goodbye to my life in basketball. Kind of sad in a way, but it’s an ending, and I didn’t want it to be the ending that was being portrayed because it wasn’t the truth.”

Pitino’s career was marred by multiple controversies. In 2017, he lost his job after federal prosecutors said that unnamed coaches were involved in sending money from Adidas to two prospects, The New York Times reported.

Lousiville Escorts Basketball, New York, USA - 21 Feb 2018
Credit: Seth Wenig/AP/REX/Shutterstock

At the time, Pitino’s lawyer put out a statement saying, “Coach Pitino has done nothing wrong and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.”

Pitino said on Good Morning America that he “had nothing to do with what the FBI put out there.” He added, “I’ve not cheated the game. I never one time as a head coach said, ‘Here’s $20,000. Come play for me.’ So I’m not in denial. We all have done things wrong.”

In 2015, a member of the coaching staff at Louisville allegedly hired prostitutes and strippers for players and recruits, according to Good Morning America.

Pitino told Roberts that he had no knowledge of the alleged payments at the time. He said, “Security didn’t know. My assistant coaches didn’t know. This would happen four times a year probably at 1:00 in the morning behind closed doors. They didn’t want anybody to know, and it was hidden for a reason because it was reprehensible behavior.”

“Because the university currently is in litigation with Mr. Pitino, we cannot comment on statements made in his book,” a spokesman for the University of Louisville, John Karman, told ABC News.

Karman continued, “I can say that we are focused on moving forward with new university and athletic department leadership. We also are extremely excited about the future of our men’s basketball program under Coach Chris Mack. He has assembled an outstanding team, and we look forward to its success on the court in the coming season.”

Pitino remains proud of his legacy. “My legacy is my children,” Pitino told Roberts. “I’ve got a great family, great wife, players I’ve coached for over 30 years as a head coach. There’s highs and lows. I wrote this book because I don’t want it to end as a low.”

He continued, “I don’t want to hear ‘disgraced Rick Pitino’ anymore. I don’t want to hear that term anymore because I coached in an honest way, got every once of perspiration I could out of every athlete I coached for the right reasons: to make that athlete better.”