Rick Pitino says Louisville is working to finish a deal to open next season against Minnesota, coached by his son, Richard.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – All the television sets in the University of Louisville basketball offices were dialed into Minnesota's game against Arkansas from the Maui Invitational Tuesday afternoon.
Rick Pitino was eager to watch every pick-and-roll called by his son, Richard, the first-year coach of Minnesota.
Or maybe Dad was getting a head start on scouting for next season.
"I will let you guys in on the scoop of the year," Pitino said in an interview with me, Eric Crawford and Steve Andress of WDRB Sports.
"If everything goes according to Hoyle, we will open up on a military base with Minnesota on national television next season."
"We're working on that now, but it could be Puerto Rico if it all works," Pitino said. "We haven't signed contracts. It's a long way from done. But it could be on a military base opening the season next year."
Highlights from the Pitino interview will run on WDRB News at 11:30, 4 and 10 on Wednesday and be posted here at WDRB.com.
Pitino's plan to open the 2014-15 season against the Gophers is one thing Pitino discussed. Father and son competed against each other last season. Richard brought his Florida International team to the KFC Yum! Center. Louisville won that game, 79-55.
But Richard coached the Panthers to their first winning season in more than a decade and was hired to replace Tubby Smith at Minnesota last April.
On Halloween Day at Big Ten basketball media day in Chicago, Richard Pitino said that he did not want to play another game against his father simply to get a guarantee check and take a defeat. They talk basketball every day. Sometimes several times a day.
Richard looks forward to a post-game text message from his father. He wants his opinion and advice any time he can get it. When Rick was late with his post-game comments Monday night after the Gophers lost a close game to Syracuse, Richard fired off this quick text: "No feedback?"
"I enjoy working with him and him being part of our program, as much as possible, sending him practice film, sending him an exhibition game and asking, 'Hey, what do you think of this guy?' " Richard Pitino said.
"I don't ever want to get a feeling where we're competing against each other. I think people think that. I tell them all the time: We're not competing against each other. We're working with each other as much as possible."
Even without a signed contract yet for 2014-15, Rick Pitino said the trash talking has already started.
"I said, 'Richard, I'm thinking about it, I'm not sure it's too good for you being at Minnesota to lose to Louisville at this stage of your career,'" Rick Pitino said.
"He said, 'Being the fact that you're going to lose possibly Chane (Behanan), Montrezl (Harrell), Luke (Hancock) and Russ (Smith), it's probably not too good for a Hall of Fame coach to lose to his son.
"I said, 'I can't wait.' I always use this line: ‘I never spanked you as a child. I can't wait to spank you now.' His thing is, ‘Bring it on Dad because you don't have the team I'm going to have.' "
They've only just begun. Rick traveled to several of Richard's FIU games last season. Getting to Minnesota games is trickier because of possible weather complications. Even with a private plane, there is a risk of getting stuck on the road because of snow or ice.
"Everything would have to work out perfectly," Rick Pitino said.
If they don't see each other this season, they hope to have a date to see each other the first game of next season.