At yesterday’s press conference Coach Pitino made it clear he has no intentions of retiring any time soon. As a fan (and a Rick Pitino fan boy) this excites me but it still doesn’t change the fact that Rick is 61 and more than likely the Cards will have a new head coach in the next 10-12 years. The million dollar question has always been “Who will be the next coach at Louisville after Rick Pitino?”
If you know me you know I am all in with Richard Pitino. I think young Pitino keep continuity in the program and quite honestly you don’t really lose Rick. Rick would be on the sidelines for every game, he would be here for every big recruiting visit, and that is something I personally would love to see.
Even though I am a huge Richard Pitino guy there are plenty of other candidates that would be lining up for a crack at the Louisville job. Sports Illustrated takes a look at 9 candidates that they believe could roam the Louisville sideline. Here are 3 that stood out:
Richard Pitino, Minnesota head coach. The son ascends to the throne. Richard Pitino has been a head coach for just two seasons and turns 32 this year, but he has two stints as an assistant at Louisville on his resume, and he is at a perfect stepping-stone job in Minnesota. He won 25 games and the NIT championship in his first season with the Golden Gophers. Presuming that the younger Pitino keeps the program on an upward trajectory, the eventual outcome seems far too obvious to ignore: Rick Pitino keeps coaching for a few more years and then times his departure for the moment when his son’s accomplishments would make him a slam-dunk replacement. If the elder Pitino left immediately? It might get a little fuzzy, given his son’s limited track record as a head coach, but Louisville might take the leap anyway.
Shaka Smart, VCU head coach. He’ll always be the biggest name on the market, and surely some sectors of Cardinals fans would crave a high-profile, proven commodity, no matter if bloodlines insist otherwise. Maybe he’d get involved with a family connection by proxy as a former assistant to Florida head coach Billy Donovan, who was a longtime aide to Pitino – thus a protégé of a protégé. Smart would probably be the first call if the current coach didn’t have a son in the biz, and he may get a call anyway.
Frank Vogel, Indiana Pacers head coach. Now this would be a bombshell. Vogel was a student manager at Kentucky when Pitino was head coach there, started as a video coordinator for the Boston Celtics under Pitino and then graduated to assistant coach in Boston from 2001-04 after Pitino returned to the college ranks. Nothing in Vogel’s background suggests an urge to coach at the collegiate level, as he’s spent his entire coaching career in the NBA. But if he tires of the pro life, and if other options like Richard Pitino fall through for various reasons, Vogel would be a massive-splash hire.
Let us know who you would like to see!