BOZICH | Pitino Vs. Pitino leaves brothers eager, anxious, wonde - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Pitino Vs. Pitino leaves brothers eager, anxious, wondering what to wear

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The Pitino family shared a moment following the Cards’ 2013 victory over Duke, which sent UofL to the Final Four and the eventual NCAA Title — (from left) Bethany (Michael’s wife), Michael, Brucie (Christopher’s wife), Christopher, Jacqueline, Rick, Joann The Pitino family shared a moment following the Cards’ 2013 victory over Duke, which sent UofL to the Final Four and the eventual NCAA Title — (from left) Bethany (Michael’s wife), Michael, Brucie (Christopher’s wife), Christopher, Jacqueline, Rick, Joann
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – You can ask Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas or a thousand other basketball insiders for a prediction on the game that the Pitinos – father Rick (University of Louisville) and son Richard (Minnesota) – will coach against each other Friday night in Puerto Rico.

There are several people you cannot ask: the three other Pitino sons and brothers – Michael, Chris and Ryan.

“I've got no prediction,” Ryan Pitino said. “I've got nothing. I'm just going to watch and root for a good game. Then, I'll send, ‘Congrats on the win' and ‘Sorry for the loss,' texts afterward.”

“It's not very fun,” Chris Pitino said. “It's a great game, but somebody is going to lose. I get nervous before both of their games. It's not a good feeling knowing that somebody is going to lose.”

But somebody will also win.

“Yeah, but they'll win the majority of their games anyway,” Chris said. “You know somebody you love is going to lose this one.”

Father and son will discuss the game Tuesday evening at 6 during a joint press conference at U of L before the teams board the same plane and fly to Puerto Rico Wednesday.

Louisville is a pre-season Top 10 team predicted to contend for the Atlantic Coast Conference title. Minnesota returns four starters from a team that won 25 games and the 2014 National Invitation Tournament. Ryan and Chris Pitino argue that their brother's team is overlooked on the national scene.

“I think my brother expects to win,” Chris Pitino said. “I don't know why they're not getting more love.”

Ryan, 24, works as an equities trader for the Bank of Montreal. He will watch from his Manhattan apartment. He will be alone – and cheer for both teams.

“I was going to go out and watch, but I don't think I can deal with that,” Ryan Pitino said. “It's too tough.

“I grew up a Louisville fan. I can never root against Louisville because it would be too weird of a feeling. But I think I'm just going to sit there in silence and not speak a word and see what happens.”

The ESPN television cameras are certain to find the Pitino family members who make the trip. If you're looking for Chris, he said he'll be wearing the Boston Red Sox jersey.

No Cardinal red and black. That would upset Richard and his wife, Jill. No Minnesota maroon and gold.

“I don't want my Dad to look into the crowd and give me a dirty look,” Chris said, before laughing.

“I'm going to try to be completely neutral because a it's no-win situation. I'd be lying if I said I was looking forward to it. I guess I get to go to Puerto Rico, so that's nice. But there's definitely a certain stressful element about it.”

The real stress, of course, is in the coaching, recruiting, competing and grinding your way to the top of the basketball coaching profession. Ryan Pitino said his father encouraged all of his children to pursue other professions. Coaching, Rick said, made family time challenging, especially after defeats.

Only Richard refused to listen. Chris said Richard is a natural teacher, who is great interacting with players. “Richard is a hard worker,” Chris Pitino said. “In college, when the rest of us were out partying, he was rolling up his sleeves (at Providence College) and working.”

Chris, 34, lives in Tampa, Fla., where he trades equities. At 35, Michael is the oldest Pitino son. He lives in Miami and directs a venture capital firm. Their sister, Jacqueline, 22, is an elementary school teacher in Louisville. Michael and Chris will join their mother, Joanne, in Puerto Rico.

Chris and Ryan admire Richard, 32, for the success he's enjoyed as a young coach. They both love basketball. But they decided not to make it their careers.

“I loved it so much and I still do,” Chris Pitino said. “But I saw the stress. People have your jobs. You wake up and go to work and you come home and your job is done. Coaching is not really like that. It's your life. That's why were all into it. It's your life.

“I know some coaches who aren't like that. But to be honest, they're not as successful.”

“They (his Dad and brother) both talked me out of it, pretty much,” Ryan Pitino said. “At the time coming out of college, it was something Richard was doing.

“I was like, ‘Man, this is not an easy life. He and Jill were moving all over the country. They were going to a different city every two years. That just didn't appeal to me.

“You see those two playing on ESPN and you say, ‘This is how it was meant to be. It's great.' The path Richard went through, and I got to see it first hand because I wanted to be a coach. But it wasn't easy.

“It's a lifestyle thing. It's just a different, tough world. Job security is tough. I was impressed to see what he did to become a coach. What everybody sees on the outside, it's so much harder than that.”

The stress, of course, brings the story back to Friday night. Wanting their Dad to win. Wanting their brother to win. Determined to be Switzerland -- from now until the final buzzer. They'll leave the trash talking to their father and their brother.

“I'll be completely neutral,” Chris Pitino said. “We consider Ryan the lucky one because he won't be there.”

“That's right,” Ryan Pitino said. “I'm staying out of it, as far away as possible.”

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