Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coaching Search: Goodbye My Old Kentucky Home

I believe Stephen C. Foster summed it up best for Lousiville Coach Rick Pitino:


"Weep no more, my lady,
Oh weep no more today!
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
For the old Kentucky home far away."
At least that's what word is here at The Beardown, sources close to us have said that the hire is almost certain and that, "we'd be happy" with the result. Well, Pitino's home in Louisville, Kentucky might be that come April. Far Away. Sources have informed me that the Arizona Coaching Search, a very low profile one, may have come to an end recently. T's still need to be crossed and I's dotted, in other words a deal is not signed and the name can't be released, but the University of Arizona has found, who they feel, is the next Head Coach of this once illustrious program.

I'm not going to lie, I was pulling for Mark Few, but it looks as though he'll still be shoveling snow instead of heading to the southwest. Tom Izzo threw his hat in the ring, and would have been a great hire for Livengood, but it seems the UA decided that Izzo's half court play was too slow for the Pac-10. Not that the Big East is the run 'n Gun of Phoenix Suns past, but it's definitely more uptempo. From what I have heard it really came down to two Big East coaches, and Pitt's Jamie Dixon is happy with where he is, despite the loss to Providence.

Many people have pointed out that longtime Pitino friend, Kentucky legend, and former Kentucky AD, C.M. Newton was in attendance for the Arizona win over Kansas a few months back. Now yes, that was the pre-season NIT Tournament, and we all know that Newton has NIT Ties to say the least. But it seems that Arizona AD Jim Livengood was able to track down Newton and got to talking about Pitino.

There have been numerous reports and rumors as the season has progressed about possible replacements for Lute Olson. Jim Livengood made the statement early on that he wanted to make a big splash with the coaching hire. This hire will likely have a lot to say about Livengood's mediocre legacy at Arizona thus far. Livengood said he wanted a coach who was going to have a good 2008-2009 season. Livengood said he wanted to "win the Press Conference" with the hire.

Recent reports have come out the Livengood has finally made his decision and is waiting until after the season to announce and finalize the deal. The most recent report, courtesy of 620 KTAR in Phoenix, has a confirmed report that the newest Arizona Coach has a National Championship on his record. Well let's look at the list of Coaches with National Championships on their Record:

2008 - Bill Self
2007 - Billy Donovan
2006 - Billy Donovan
2005 - Roy Williams
2004 - Jim Calhoun
2003 - Jim Boeheim
2002 - Gary Williams
2001 - Mike Krizooski
2000 - Tom Izzo
1999 - Jim Calhoun
1998 - Tubby Smith
1997 - Lute Olson
1996 - Rick Pitino
1995 - Jim Harrick
1994 - Nolan Richardson
1993 - Dean Smith
1992 - Mike Krizooski

Self, Donovan, R. Williams, Calhoun, Boeheim, and Krizooski aren't going anywhere.
G. Williams is having a down season.
T. Smith was already disregarded as a candidate.
Lute, Harrick, D. Smith, and Richardson are out of basketball.

Which leaves Izzo and Pitino our top candidates at the start of all of this. Judging by the information that has come across our desk, it sounds like Pitino is the next Head Coach in Tucson.

12 comments:

witless chum said...

Spartan fan, so take this as you will, but I very seriously doubt Tom Izzo 'threw his hat into the ring' for any Arizona job. Izzo always say he'll listen to people who want to talk to him about leaving East Lansing, but I'd bet every bit of green and white in my house that he never leaves East Lansing for another college job. Especially, not this year with a young team that'll at least a good shot at another Big 10 title run next year.

The NBA, might be another matter. He almost went to coach the Atlanta Hawks right after winning the title and people talk about him being competitive enough to want to see how he can do. But the smart money says his college career ends in East Lansing.

Oh, and don't fall into the trap of thinking of MSU as a slowdown team because we're in the Big 10. We're going to run wild in the tourney once we get away from these teams that know us so well and all want to slow the game down. Maybe someone will even think they can run with us.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big Arizona fan, I lived in Phoenix when I was little, growing up I became a big fan watching them and Olson's style of play and all the guards out of AZ.

I live in Louisville, Ky, and have heard things already here about it. But I'm like my friends and family here, I don't see Pitino leaving Louisville, he loves it here and is treated great here. I would love to see him go to AZ so we can keep top recruits coming in and so I could rub it in to my friends. I'm just sayin I don't believe it until I see it and its a done deal! It would be great.

Another issue is the arena being built in Louisville for them, and part of Pitino's input was for the new arena. It's a nice story right now, and it has me wondering, but for now, it's hard to see Pition leaving Louisville, that's why he came back from the NBA, because he loves it here. But who knows, money talks, and it's nothing for him to fly back n forth to here and AZ !!

Anonymous said...

Mich. State is going to run in the tourney? How'd that work out against Memphis last year?

Anonymous said...

WTF?!?!?! NO WAY PITINO IS LEAVING LOUISVILLE. Your crazy if you think he is.

Brian said...

Tom Izzo and Rick Pitino were both interested in this job?

LMAO - thats the dumbest thing I've seen today and thats saying alot.

Here are just a few schools Rick Pitino has turned down since coming to Louisville: Michigan, UCLA, Indiana, UNLV (just to name a few) but yes... he was turning down those schools just so he could stay at louisville until a job opened up at AZ. You have quite the imagination. I'll be back once AZ hires someone else to say "I told you so"

Anonymous said...

LOL!!!!!!! Seriously????

What a joke of a website. Why would you even right an article so stupid?

You have to be smoking some serious crack if you think Pitino is leaving louisville. He has top 10 recruiting classes lined up for the next three years, a rena that is going to be the nicest in all of college basketball, a great city, horse racing, and the list goes on and on and on.

What a freaking moron. Someone should take your credintials away for writing such BS.


Thanks for the good laugh though!!!

Mark said...

Why are Arizona fans so delusional?

Why would a coach leave Louisville, which is an undoubtedly better basketball program both currently and historically for Arizona? Especially since he didn't leave for either of his old teams (Providence or Kentucky) nor IU. Your prediction carries no weight.

Go out and hire Reggie Theus.

Anonymous said...

Can't believe Pitino would leave, but wonder if anyone else has heard of, considered or looked closely at VCU's Anthony Grant?

H M-R said...

You knuckleheads who doubt how highly regarded this job is ought to go out and look at some of the blogs for the universities who's coaches might be available. Without exception, they call this coaching job at UofA a primo position and those fans are taking it seriously that their guy might be moving.

So, don't be so quick to discount the legitimate interest some of these guys might have in coming to Tucson!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying the guy who wrote this is right or wrong, and obviously there is a lot to keep Rick Pitino in Louisville. One thing I do know about Pitino is that he's a coach who loves a challenge and a tough situation. Yeah he's had plenty of job offers from schools since he's been at Louisville, but this situation is a little special at least - if not plain better, depending on your opinion of schools. A chance to replace a legend at a school that's been in turmoil the past few seasons. A school with a strong basketball tradition and a passion for the game. A school with a great fan base, but with next to nothing as far as recruiting goes as of right now. What better way to prove how much of a badass coach you are? Seems to me like that's something Rick likes doing, that Rick is good at doing. Rick is a been-there-done-that type of guy, and this would be just another notch on his belt. He's from New York, coached all on the east coast whether it be in college or the pros. He's never even been at one school for a decade...let's face it, he's one of those guys who jumps around and likes a challenge. One last thing I'd like to point out might offend some people and is probably a little bias, but Kentucky is Kentucky. I know Rick's been around there quite a while, but that state ain't near the top 5 in the country if you know what I mean. Not to say Arizona is, but I've heard people say it's a nice place to retire...

All in all, like I said, there are plenty of reasons why Pitino would stay at Louisville. Hopefully, I've made a few arguments for why Arizona would be a nice place to come. For now I'm looking forward to the head-to-head matchup on Friday!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous comment. Most of the elder coaches in the NCAA have a chip on their shoulder to prove they can take any program and make it the best it's ever been and leave a legacy behind that is unmatched. Arizona is that perfect opportunity and Rick Pitino may have the biggest chip on his shoulder. I could see Pitino taking a look at some of the younger players on display Friday and, if his team doesn't make the championship game, begin contemplating another challenge. But it's all hearsay until the tourney is over. I look forward to Friday and the off-season.

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