Pitino answers questions from the press at the 2013 Final Four
September 18, 1952 |
New York City, New York
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1976||Hawaii (interim HC)|
|1983–1985||New York Knicks (assistant)|
|1987–1989||New York Knicks|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|2× NCAA Division I championships (1996, 2013)
7× NCAA Regional Championships – Final Four
(1987, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2012, 2013)
America East Tournament championship (1983)
2× America East regular season championships (1980, 1983)
5× SEC Tournament championships (1992–1995, 1997)
2× SEC regular season championships (1995, 1996)
2× C-USA Tournament championships (2003, 2005)
C-USA regular season championship (2005)
3× Big East Tournament championships (2009, 2012, 2013)
2× Big East regular season championships (2009, 2013)
AAC regular season championship (2014)
AAC Tournament championship (2014)
|NABC Coach of the Year (1987)
Adolph Rupp Cup (2009)
John Wooden National Coach of the Year (1987)
3× SEC Coach of the Year (1990, 1991, 1996)
C-USA Coach of the Year (2005)
|Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2013
Richard Andrew "Rick" Pitino (born September 18, 1952) is an American basketball coach. Since 2001, he has been the head coach at the University of Louisville, and coached the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. As a college head coach, Pitino has also served at Boston University, Providence College and the University of Kentucky, leading that program to the NCAA championship in 1996. In addition to his college coaching career, Pitino also served two stints in the NBA, coaching the New York Knicks for two seasons and the Boston Celtics for three and a partial fourth.
Pitino holds the distinction of being the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four and the only coach in the NCAA to lead two different schools to an NCAA National Championship (Kentucky and Louisville). Pitino is also one of only four coaches in NCAA history (along with Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim) to take his school to the Final Four in four separate decades, one of only three coaches (along with Roy Williams and Jack Gardner) to have led two different programs to at least two Final Fours each, and one of only two coaches (along with Williams) to have led two different programs to at least three Final Fours each. In addition, Pitino has achieved a measure of success as an author and a motivational speaker. Pitino's election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was officially announced on April 8 during the 2013 Final Four; he was inducted five months later.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early years
- 1.2 Collegiate coaching
- 1.3 Professional coaching
- 1.4 Puerto Rico National Team
- 1.5 Author and accomplishments
- 1.6 Thoroughbred horse racing
- 1.7 Personal life
- 1.8 Extortion attempt against Pitino
- 2 Coaching tree
- 3 Head coaching record
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Pitino was born in New York City, New York and was raised in Bayville, New York. He was captain of the St. Dominic High School basketball team in nearby Oyster Bay, Long Island. He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1970. He was a standout guard for the Minutemen basketball team. His 329 career assists rank tenth all-time at UMass, as of the 2009–10 season. He led the team in assists as a junior and senior. The 168 assists as a senior is the eighth-best single season total ever there. Pitino was a freshman at the same time future NBA legend Julius Erving spent his junior (and final) year at UMass, although the two never played on the same team because freshmen were ineligible to play varsity basketball at the time. Other teammates of Pitino's include Al Skinner, who also went on to become a successful college coach, and baseballer Mike Flanagan, who went on to pitch in the major leagues and win the AL Cy Young Award in 1979. Pitino earned his degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) in 1974.
Pitino is currently head coach of the University of Louisville. Previous college coaching assignments include Boston University, Providence College, and the University of Kentucky. As a collegiate head coach, Pitino has compiled a 629–234 record, for a .732 winning percentage that is ranked 10th among active coaches and 29th all-time among all collegiate basketball coaches entering the 2012 season.
Pitino is considered by many to be one of the first coaches to promote fully taking advantage of the 3-point shot, first adopted by the NCAA in 1987. By exploiting the 3-point shot, his teams at Kentucky in the early 1990s were known as Pitino's Bombinos, as a significant portion of the offensive points came from the 3-point shot. Even now, Pitino's teams are known for the 3-point threat and all of his teams rank towards the top in 3-point attempts per season.
Many of Pitino's players and assistant coaches have gone on to become successful collegiate coaches. In total, 21 former Pitino players and coaches have become Division I head coaches, including Florida's Billy Donovan, Texas Tech's Tubby Smith, Arizona State's Herb Sendek, Cincinnati's Mick Cronin, Minnesota's Richard Pitino, Seton Hall's Kevin Willard as well as Cal State Northridge's Reggie Theus.
Assistant coaching career
Pitino started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of Hawaii in 1974, and became a full-time assistant (and interim head coach) in 1975. He was then the first assistant hired by Jim Boeheim in 1976 as Boeheim began his tenure at Syracuse University.
Pitino served as Hawaii's interim head coach late in the 1975–76 season. Coach Bruce O'Neil was fired after the Rainbow Warriors' started the season 9–12. Pitino led Hawaii for their final six games, going 2–4 in the span.
Pitino's time at Hawaii was marred by a 1977 NCAA report on sanctions against the program. According to the report, Pitino was implicated in 8 of the 64 infractions that led the university to be placed on probation. The violations involving Pitino included providing round-trip air fare for a player between New York and Honolulu, arranging for student-athletes to receive used cars for season tickets, and handing out coupons to players for free food at McDonald's. He was also cited, along with the head coach, Bruce O'Neil, for providing misinformation to the NCAA and University of Hawaii officials. Also in 1977, the NCAA infractions committee recommended that Pitino and O'Neil be disassociated from Hawaii athletics. In 1989, Pitino would dismiss the report, saying "I didn't make any mistakes, I don't care what anybody says."
Pitino's first head coaching job came in 1978 at Boston University. In the two seasons before his arrival, the team had won a mere 17 games. Pitino led the team to its first NCAA appearance in 24 years.
Pitino left Boston University to become an assistant coach with the New York Knicks under Hubie Brown. Pitino returned to college coaching to become head coach at Providence College in 1985. Providence had gone a dismal 11–20 in the year before he took over. Two years later, Pitino led the team to the Final Four. That Final Four team featured point guard Billy Donovan, who would go on to be an assistant coach under Pitino at the University of Kentucky and then win back-to-back national championships as head coach at the University of Florida. Donovan is currently the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After spending two years coaching in the NBA, Pitino returned to the college level again in 1989, becoming the coach at Kentucky. The legendary Kentucky program was dusting off its shoulders from a major recruiting scandal brought on by former coach Eddie Sutton that left it on NCAA probation. Pitino quickly restored Kentucky's reputation and performance, leading his second school to the Final Four in the 1993 NCAA Tournament, and winning a national title in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Kentucky's 6th NCAA Championship. The following year, Pitino's Kentucky team made it back to the national title game, losing to Arizona in overtime in the finals of the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Pitino's fast-paced teams at Kentucky were favorites of the school's fans. It was primarily at Kentucky where he implemented his signature style of full-court pressure defense. The following year he left Kentucky for the NBA and Kentucky went on to win the 1998 national title. He would later refer to Kentucky as "the Roman Empire of college basketball".
Pitino went back to the NBA in 1997, but returned to college—and his adopted home state—on March 21, 2001 to coach the University of Louisville following the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum. In the 2005 season, Pitino led Louisville to their first Final Four in 19 years, and became the first men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four. Immediately following their Final Four run, several players graduated or entered the 2005 NBA Draft. The inexperience caused the Cardinals to limp into the Big East Tournament seeded 12th, and miss the NCAA tournament. They made the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), where they were defeated by eventual champions University of South Carolina. The 2007 Cardinal team was primarily the same team, with added freshmen. Picked to finish towards the bottom of the Big East Conference again, Pitino led them to a second-place finish, 12–4 (tied with the University of Pittsburgh, who had been beaten by the Cardinals during the regular season) in the conference standings and a first round bye in the conference tournament. Pitino implemented a 2–2–1 and 2–3 zone defense midway through the season. The 2007 team's season ended when the Cardinals lost to Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 2008 Cardinals finished second in the Big East and ranked 13th in both the AP and Coaches' polls. Louisville was the third seed in the 2008 NCAA tournament's East region. They defeated Boise State, Oklahoma and Tennessee to advance to the Elite Eight, where they were defeated by North Carolina. Louisville was the top seed overall in the 2009 NCAA tournament and was planted as the first seed in the Midwest region. They defeated Morehead State, Siena and Arizona to advance to the Elite Eight, where they were defeated by Michigan State. In 2010 the Cardinals suffered a disappointing 15-point loss to their first round opponent, the California Golden Bears. In 2011, Louisville was upset by 13th-seeded Morehead State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In 2012, Pitino coached the Cardinals to the Big East tournament championship and a berth as a 4 seed in the West region of the NCAA tournament. The Cardinals defeated Davidson, New Mexico, and top seed Michigan State to advance to the regional final against Florida and his former player and friend Billy Donovan. The Cardinals would go on to win that game, but lost to arch-rivals and eventual national champions Kentucky in the 2012 Final Four.
In 2013, Pitino led the Louisville Cardinals to their third National Championship in an 82-76 win over Michigan to become the first NCAA Division I coach in history to win a championship with two different schools.
Pitino became head coach of the New York Knicks in 1987. The year before he arrived, the team had won only 24 games. In just two years, Pitino led the Knicks to their first division title in nearly twenty years.
His NBA coaching experience often demonstrated a deep frustration with the dynamics of the league, especially in Boston, where he amassed a 102–146 record from 1997 to 2001. After being beaten by the Toronto Raptors on March 1, 2000, on a buzzer-beater by Vince Carter, Pitino's frustration reached critical mass as he addressed the press. Referring to the expectations of Boston Celtics fans and media, Pitino challenged each of them to let go of the past and focus on the future:
|“||Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old. What we are is young, exciting, hard-working, and we're going to improve. People don't realize that, and as soon as they realize those three guys are not coming through that door, the better this town will be for all of us because there are young guys in that (locker) room playing their asses off. I wish we had $90 million under the salary cap. I wish we could buy the world. We can't; the only thing we can do is work hard, and all the negativity that's in this town sucks. I've been around when Jim Rice was booed. I've been around when Yastrzemski was booed. And it stinks. It makes the greatest town, greatest city in the world, lousy. The only thing that will turn this around is being upbeat and positive like we are in that locker room... and if you think I'm going to succumb to negativity, you're wrong. You've got the wrong guy leading this team.||”|
Pitino struggled in his roles with the Celtics, and statistics like 1999's 19–31 record made him little better in the eyes of many Boston fans than his inexperienced predecessor, M.L. Carr. Pitino's remarks became a cornerstone of Boston Celtics lore, and has served as a metaphor for other sports franchises and their inability to relive past successes. Pitino himself reprised the speech in a tongue-in-cheek manner at Louisville in November 2005, challenging his freshmen players to play as tough as past seniors and drawing laughter from sportswriters in a post-game press conference. During his time in Boston he had complete power serving not just as head coach but as general manager, CEO, and president of the team.
Puerto Rico National Team
On December 20, 2010, the Puerto Rico Basketball Federation announced Rick Pitino as the next head coach for Puerto Rico's Olympic team. The President of the Basketball Federation described the hiring as the highest impact coaching hire in the history of Puerto Rico Basketball. On April 29, 2011, it was announced that Pitino would not coach the Puerto Rico national team due to scheduling conflicts and NCAA regulations disallowing it. Pitino coached the Puerto Rican national team at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championships in Mexico City.
Author and accomplishments
Pitino is the author of a motivational self-help book (and audio recording) named Success is a Choice. He published an autobiography in 1988 entitled Born to Coach describing his life up until his time with the Knicks. His most recent book "Rebound Rules," was the top seller at the 2008 Kentucky Book Fair.
In 2005, Pitino's Louisville team posted a tie for the most single season wins in school history (33)—since surpassed by the 35 total wins by the 2013 NCAA title-winning Cardinals team—while he is one of two men's coaches in NCAA history to lead three separate schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to the Final Four. The other coach is his in-state rival, John Calipari (UMASS, Memphis, Kentucky), though both final four appearances at UMASS and Memphis were later vacated.
As of 2015, Pitino's .746 winning percentage in 72 NCAA Tournament games ranks fourth among all coaches, third among active coaches.
Thoroughbred horse racing
Beyond basketball, Pitino has been involved in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing as the lead partner in Celtic Pride Stable and the Ol Memorial Stable. Among his notable horses have been A P Valentine and Halory Hunter. Pitino, through the stable name of RAP Racing, owns a 5 percent share of Goldencents. Goldencents who won the $750,000 2013 Santa Anita Derby, ran in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and finished 17th despite having 8/1 odds of winning.
Pitino married his wife, the former Joanne Minardi, in 1976. They have five living children: Michael, Christopher, Richard (now the head coach at Minnesota), Ryan and Jacqueline. Another son, Daniel, died in 1987 from congenital heart failure at the age of six months. Rick and Joanne established the Daniel Pitino Foundation (along with a Daniel Pitino shelter in Owensboro, Kentucky) in his memory, which has raised millions of dollars for children in need.
Their son's death was not the last tragedy for Rick and Joanne. Both were especially hard-hit by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as Joanne's brother and Rick's closest friend, Billy Minardi, was working as a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck by American Airlines Flight 11. Since 2002, the University of Louisville has designated a December home game as the Billy Minardi Classic, and the university named a dorm on campus as "Billy Minardi Hall." Only a few months earlier, another brother-in-law of Rick, Don Vogt, was killed after being hit by a New York City cab.
With Eric Crawford, Pitino has written a book, The One-Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life.
Extortion attempt against Pitino
On April 18, 2009, Pitino announced that he was a target of an extortion attempt. On April 24, Karen Cunagin Sypher, the wife of Louisville equipment manager Tim Sypher, was arraigned and charged in US District Court with extortion and lying to federal agents. On August 11, Pitino admitted to having engaged in sexual relations with Cunagin on August 1, 2003 in Porcini, a Louisville restaurant. Several weeks later, Cunagin told Pitino that she was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion, but she did not have health insurance. Pitino paid her $3,000 for an abortion. During the trial, Pitino downplayed the pair's sexual escapade. The complete act took, the coach testified, "No more than 15 seconds." In addition, Cunagin, who was convicted for extortion and lying to federal agents, claimed that her estranged husband, Tim Sypher, was paid to marry her.
At a press conference on August 12, Pitino made a statement, in which he apologized for his indiscretion and stated that he would remain as coach. While Pitino's contract allows for his firing for "acts of moral depravity or misconduct that damages the university's reputation," University of Louisville president James Ramsey announced on August 13 that Pitino would be retained in his position. On August 26, Pitino demanded in a press conference that the media stop "reporting these lies." The conference was called even though University of Louisville officials advised that he was not obligated to respond.
On August 6, 2010, a federal district court found Cunagin guilty of extortion and lying to federal agents, carrying a maximum penalty of 26 years in prison. After her conviction, Cunagin hired new attorneys and accused the judge, prosecutors, her former attorneys, and Pitino of taking part in a conspiracy to ensure she was found guilty.
Former assistants as head coaches
- George Barber – Greenville College (1999–present)
- Winston Bennett – Kentucky State (2000–03), Mid-Continent (2007–2014)
- Delray Brooks – Texas-Pan American (1997–99)
- Bob Brown – Southern Maine (1987–90), Boston University (1990–94)
- Bill Burke – Loyola (MD) (1981–82)
- Gordon Chiesa – Manhattan (1981–85), Providence (1987–88)
- Mick Cronin – Murray State (2003–06), Cincinnati (2006–present)
- Scott Davenport – Bellarmine (2005–present)
- Billy Donovan – Marshall (1994–96), Florida (1996–2015), Oklahoma City Thunder (2015–present)
- Andy Enfield – Florida Gulf Coast (2011–2013), USC (2013–present)
- Stu Jackson – New York Knicks (1990), Wisconsin (1992–94)
- Kevin Keatts – UNC Wilmington (2014–present)
- John Kuester – Boston (1983–85), George Washington (1985–90), Detroit Pistons (2009-2011)
- Steve Masiello – Manhattan (2011–present)
- Bernadette Mattox – Kentucky (women) (1995–2003)
- Marvin Menzies – New Mexico State (2007–present)
- Jim O'Brien – Dayton (1990–94), Boston Celtics (2001–2004), Philadelphia 76ers (2004–2005), Indiana Pacers (2007–2011)
- Richard Pitino – FIU (2012–13), Minnesota (2013-present)
- Kareem Richardson - UMKC (2013–present)
- Martin Schoepfer – Connecticut College (1982–93)
- Herb Sendek – Miami, OH (1993–96), N.C. State (1996–2006), Arizona State (2006–2015)
- Orlando "Tubby" Smith – Tulsa (1991–95), Georgia (1995–97), UK (1997–2007), Minnesota (2007–2013), Texas Tech (2013-present)
- Reggie Theus – New Mexico State (2005–07), Sacramento Kings (2007-2008), Cal State Northridge (2013–present)
- Frank Vogel - Indiana Pacers (2011–2016), Orlando Magic (2016–present)
- Kevin Willard – Iona (2007–2010), Seton Hall (2010–present)
- Ralph Willard – WKU (1990–94), Pittsburgh (1994–99), Holy Cross (1999–2009)
Former players as head coaches
- Delray Brooks – Texas-Pan American (1997–99)
- Billy Donovan – Marshall (1994–96), Florida (1996–2015), Oklahoma City Thunder (2015–present)
- Travis Ford – Campbellsville University (1997–2000), EKU (2000–05), UMass (2005–08), Oklahoma State (2008–present)
- Mark Jackson – Golden State Warriors (2011–14) 
- Steve Masiello – Manhattan (2011–present)
- Scott Padgett – Samford (2014–present)
- John Pelphrey – South Alabama (2002–07), Arkansas (2007–2011)
- Sean Woods – Mississippi Valley State (2008–2012), Morehead State (2012–present)
- Mark Pope – Utah Valley Wolverines men's basketball (2015–present)
Former players in coaching
- Patrick Ewing, assistant coach, Washington Wizards (2002–03), Houston Rockets (2003–06), Orlando Magic (2007–12); associate head coach, Charlotte Hornets (2013–present) 
- Reggie Hanson, Director of basketball operations, South Florida
- Dan Harwood, head varsity basketball coach, Magruder High School (Rockville, Md.)
- Walter McCarty, assistant coach, Louisville (2007–10), Indiana Pacers (2010–2011), Boston Celtics (2013–present)
- Andre McGee, graduate assistant, Louisville (2010–12); director of basketball operations, Louisville (2012–14); assistant coach, UMKC (2014–2015)
- David Padgett, assistant coach, IUPUI (2011–14); director of basketball operations, Louisville (2014–present)
- Rodrick Rhodes, head varsity basketball coach, Cordia High School (Lotts Creek, Ky.)
Head coaching record
|Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (NCAA Division I Independent) (1975–1976)|
|Boston University Terriers (NCAA Division I Independent) (1978–1979)|
|Boston University Terriers (America East Conference) (1979–1983)|
|1979–80||Boston University||21–9||19–7||T–1st||NIT Second Round|
|1982–83||Boston University||21–10||8–2||T–1st||NCAA Preliminary|
|Boston University:||91–51 (.641)||46–24 (.657)|
|Providence Friars (Big East Conference) (1985–1987)|
|1986–87||Providence||25–9||10–6||4th||NCAA Final Four|
|Providence:||42–23 (.646)||17–15 (.531)|
|Kentucky Wildcats (Southeastern Conference) (1989–1997)|
|1991–92||Kentucky||29–7||12–4||1st (East)||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1992–93||Kentucky||30–4||13–3||2nd (East)||NCAA Final Four|
|1993–94||Kentucky||27–7||12–4||2nd (East)||NCAA Round of 32|
|1994–95||Kentucky||28–5||14–2||1st (East)||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1995–96||Kentucky||34–2||16–0||1st (East)||NCAA Champions|
|1996–97||Kentucky||35–5||13–3||2nd (East)||NCAA Runner-up|
|Kentucky:||219–50 (.814)||104–28 (.788)|
|Louisville Cardinals (Conference USA) (2001–2005)|
|2001–02||Louisville||19–13||8–8||T–8th||NIT Second Round|
|2002–03||Louisville||25–7||11–5||3rd||NCAA Round of 32|
|2003–04||Louisville||20–10||9–7||T–6th||NCAA Round of 64|
|2004–05||Louisville||33–5||14–2||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|Louisville Cardinals (Big East Conference) (2005–2013)|
|2006–07||Louisville||24–10||12–4||T–2nd||NCAA Round of 32|
|2007–08||Louisville||27–9||14–4||T–2nd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2008–09||Louisville||31–6||16–2||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2009–10||Louisville||20–13||11–7||T–5th||NCAA Round of 64|
|2010–11||Louisville||25–10||12–6||T–3rd||NCAA Round of 64|
|2011–12||Louisville||30–10||10–8||7th||NCAA Final Four|
|Louisville Cardinals (American Athletic Conference) (2013–2014)|
|2013–14||Louisville||31–6||15–3||T–1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|Louisville Cardinals (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2014–present)|
|2014–15||Louisville||27–9||12–6||4th||NCAA Elite Eight|
|Louisville:||391–132 (.748)||176–80 (.688)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
^Kentucky was ineligible for both the NCAA and SEC Tournaments in 1990 and 1991 due to sanctions from the Eddie Sutton-era.
^^Kentucky finished first in the SEC standings. However, due to their probation, they were ineligible for the regular-season title; it was awarded to second-place LSU instead.
|New York||1987–88||82||38||44||.463||2nd in Atlantic||4||1||3||.250||Lost in First Round|
|New York||1988–89||82||52||30||.634||1st in Atlantic||9||5||4||.556||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|Boston||1997–98||82||36||46||.439||6th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
|Boston||1998–99||50||19||31||.371||5th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
|Boston||1999–2000||82||35||47||.427||5th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed Playoffs|
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win-loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win-loss %|
- List of college men's basketball coaches with 600 wins
- List of NCAA Men's Division I Final Four appearances by coach
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- "Record Book" (PDF). UMass Athletics. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
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- RICK PITINO BIOGRAPHY
- Like Rome, Kentucky is a storied, flawed empire
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- Megliola: Pitino legacy now stained - Framingham, MA - The MetroWest Daily News
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- William George Minardi,"Coach Pitino, Wife Mourn Loss at WTC of Her Brother, His Best Friend, Oyster Bay's Minardi". Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved March 23, 2007. (November 11, 2001).
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- "Woman faces federal extortion charges". ESPN. Associated Press. April 24, 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
- FBI Affidavit regarding Sypher
- "Pitino told police he had consensual sex with Cunagin". Courier-Journal. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
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- Mark Jackson named head coach of Golden State Warriors - ESPN
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- Camp Info
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- "David Padgett Added to Basketball Coaching Staff" (Press release). IUPUI Athletics Department. June 21, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
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