University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino created a stir last season with some talk of retirement during one of his weekly news conferences.
Now, the 60-year-old future Hall of Fame coach said on Thursday that retirement is the furthest thing from his mind as he enters a new season. The Cardinals are expected to be one of the top teams in the country this season, which tips off with the first official practice on Friday.
”My whole theme is as long as Tom Jurich is here, I want to coach here,” Pitino told a group of media before the tipoff luncheon at Downtown Marriott. “But I always say this, as long as I can get in at 6:30 in the morning, coach every individual instruction, coach practice in the afternoon and coach games with the same passion, that’s really my contract. It’s not really anything other than that.
“It’s all based on health and emotionally feeling good. I will say that I feel better than I have ever felt in my life, so that’s a good thing.”
The issue was raised again on Tuesday night when Pitino was on a radio show with CBSSports.com writer Jeff Goodman and said he was “probably going to sign a (contract) extension somewhere down the road.”
“He asked me if I was contemplating retirement any time soon, and said no I am not,” Pitino said, noting he wants to finish his career at U of L.
Pitino, who has had change over among his assistant coaches for three straight years, is still doing the same amount of individual coaching and instruction as he has since early in his career. He said in a recent interview that he’s been recruiting harder now than ever before in recent years.
“I think when you are 60, you just follow your passion and coach as long as you can and as long as you are healthy,” Pitino said. “I will never cheat the game and certainly I will never cheat the University of Louisville. If I ever have to cut back and delegate more, that’s when it’s time to go. I hope it’s a long way from happening.
“If I had my druthers, I would like to stay a long time.”