Sunday, March 18, 2001

Louisville to hear Wednesday from Pitino


Coach 'startled' by Schembechler

The Associated Press

        Louisville doesn't have much longer to wait to find out if Rick Pitino is coming to town.

        “I'm going to tell Louisville on Wednesday,” Pitino said Saturday. “I don't want to drag this on much longer. Louisville has been great to me, and I want to give them a decision soon.”

        Pitino will provide analysis for CBS during the Midwest Regional's second-round games today in Dayton. After that, he will go to Boston to discuss the situation with his wife and five children.

        Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich has said the former Kentucky and Boston Celtics coach was the only candidate to fill the vacancy left by retired Hall of Fame coach Denny Crum.

        Jurich said Wednesday it's up to Pitino to decide where he will coach next.

        “He's going to have to come to that decision,” Jurich said. “I've come to my decision. I like him very much. I want to do everything I can, not only for him, but for his family.”

        While Pitino's situation at Louisville will be resolved soon, Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said he's interested in talking to him about the school's vacancy.

        Pitino said he has not spoken to Martin yet.

        “I've had some conversations with them through another person,” Pitino said. “And other than that, all I've done is read some of the comments from Bo Schem bechler, and I was really startled by them.”

        The former Michigan football coach said Wednesday it would be a mistake for the university to pay its new basketball coach more than football coach Lloyd Carr.

        “I have two words for you — never happen,” Schembechler told The Detroit News. “It will never happen here. What do you think this thing was built on? Everybody should know that.

        “Not that Lloyd Carr (cares) about money, but (paying a basketball coach more) would be a colossal mistake.”

        Carr signed a six-year, $6.1 million contract last summer and makes $1.05 million a year.

        Reports indicate Pitino will be offered in excess of $1.5 million annually if coaches at Louisville, but Pitino said those reports are not accurate.

        “Louisville hasn't even talked about money with me,” Pitino said. “Then the first thing Bo Schembechler is worried about is what somebody is going to be paid. If you're a program guy, it shouldn't be about football or basketball. It should be about what's best for the whole athletic program.

        “Fortunately, I don't think he speaks for the university.”

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