Pitino settles with Louisville, seeks ‘new chapter’ – ESPN

Pitino settles with Louisville, seeks ‘new chapter’ – ESPN

Rick Pitino and Louisville have reached a settlement in lawsuits stemming from his departure from the school in October 2017, with Pitino receiving no money from the school, it was announced Wednesday.

“Pitino’s personnel file shall reflect that his employment with ULAA ended as a result of a resignation,” the settlement agreement stated.

Pitino sued the University of Louisville Athletic Association for breach of contract on Nov. 30, 2017, and was seeking more than $35 million. The ULAA filed counterclaims on Dec. 13, 2017, pursuing damages allegedly caused by the former basketball coach.

Both Pitino’s lawsuit and the ULAA countersuit were mutually dismissed as a result of Wednesday’s settlement.

In his individual statement, Pitino said he dropped the lawsuit against the advice of his lawyer and is looking forward to what’s next in his career.

“Today, I move on to a new chapter in my life,” Pitino said in a statement released by his lawyer. “… I am very proud of the many accomplishments my teams achieved at Louisville. I’m so thankful and honored to coach such dedicated athletes. I’m also disappointed in how it ended. But as head coach I am held responsible for the actions of all team members.”

Louisville’s board voted unanimously to fire Pitino in October 2017 after he was placed on administrative leave three weeks earlier, following an FBI investigation into fraud and corruption in college basketball. Allegations against Louisville included payments of $100,000 to the family of a recruit to sign with the Cardinals. His contract had been slated to end in 2026.

Pitino, 67, won NCAA titles at Kentucky and Louisville, reached seven Final Fours and claimed conference titles in the Big East, SEC and ACC. At Louisville, however, a national title and two Final Four appearances have been vacated as a result of scandals, including allegations that a former staff member arranged for striptease dances and sex acts for players and recruits during parties at an on-campus dormitory from 2011 to 2015.

Pitino, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach, led Panathinaikos to the championship in the Greek League this summer and has said he wants to return to the full-time pursuit of a job in the NBA as a coach or in a player-personnel or advisory role.

“I still have so much passion for the game and so many goals I want to achieve,” Pitino said in his individual statement Wednesday. “From this day forward, I start my climb.”

A joint statement from the University of Louisville and Pitino recognizes that he ultimately was accountable for NCAA infractions that happened under his watch.

“For 17 years, Coach Pitino ran a program that combined excellence on the court with a commitment to the program’s student athletes, their academic achievement, and their futures in and out of basketball,” the joint statement said. “Nevertheless, there were NCAA infractions during his term which led to serious consequences for the University. Although these infractions may not have occurred at Coach Pitino’s direction or with his knowledge, the problems leading to the NCAA infractions happened under his leadership.

“We thank Coach Pitino for his years of service to the University of Louisville basketball program and wish him well. Coach Pitino and the University of Louisville have mutually agreed to dismiss their legal claims against each other, designate his departure as a resignation, and move forward.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski contributed to this report.


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