Pitino and Izzo address Arizona rumors

March, 26, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS -- Coaches at the Midwest Regional were asked ticklish questions Thursday -- about their interest in other jobs.

First, Louisville coach Rick Pitino on being a possible candidate for the job at the school he's facing Friday, Arizona:

"To be honest with you, I'm glad that I'm not living on the West Coast because I haven't heard any of that. I heard a little bit more about Boston University wanting me back where I started. But I'm hoping they'll settle for my son [assistant coach Richard Pitino, who is a candidate for that job]."

When it was pointed out that Pitino's answer wasn't much of an answer, he continued: "I wouldn't answer any question about any other job because it would be disrespectful to the University of Louisville. You know, any time you hear a player stand up here and say, 'I'm not going pro, I'm coming back,' he's gone. Any time a coach says he's not interested in a job, he's dead-interested in a job.

"So, you know, I don't mislead you. All I can tell you is for eight years I've given every ounce I've had to the University of Louisville. I will continue to do that. … Anybody today can go on a message board. Anybody today can put anything out there they want, truth or untruth. All I can tell you is that I've lived and died with Louisville for eight years."

Pitino then acknowledged that he did speak with Providence about its opening last year during the Final Four. Pulled by his past there in the 1980s -- the high point being a Final Four run and the low point being the death of his infant son -- he gave it 24 hours of consideration.

"I sat down with them, talked to them a bit, and realized Louisville is the place for me," Pitino said.

Expect it to remain that way. Arizona clearly did make back-channel communication with Pitino, and there might have been some initial interest on his part. But Louisville officials are confident that their coach is not going anywhere.

This from Tom Izzo, another rumored Arizona candidate, on answering questions about interest in other jobs: "I think I've always been honest. One or two jobs that I've looked at, for me personally, I always went through my president. He always knew what was going on. Usually my athletic director. And I would say that anybody who answers them that they have no interest in anything, that's insane, because nobody else in America would ever feel that way. And yet the best way I could answer it is, you know, I probably would never say never.

"But I would say this: I am so happy where I'm at. I have a wife and kids. My wife has a lot of family where I'm at. I have goals still of what I want to achieve at Michigan State. They have not been achieved."



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