CRAWFORD | In radio interview, Pitino talks about UNLV rumors an - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | In radio interview, Pitino talks about UNLV rumors and his Louisville future

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WDRB photo by Eric Crawford WDRB photo by Eric Crawford

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino on Tuesday refused to entertain the subject of a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal saying he would have interest in the UNLV coaching job.

But speaking Wednesday afternoon with Mike Rutherford and John Ramsey on their afternoon sports talk show on 93.9 The Ville, Pitino went into some more depth on the subject, saying, “We've got to get through some problems here at the University of Louisville, and I'm hoping I'm the person to lead us through those problems.”

His remarks left little doubt that he wants to stay the course at Louisville. But that previous statement expressed that desire as a “hope.”

Regardless, he said he’s not going to address job rumors.

“It's not about answering ‘is it true, isn’t it true?’” Pitino said. “If I reach out to (another program), the first person I'm going to reach out to is Tom Jurich. That's what's going to happen. I have not done that in 15 years. So when you're here at one of the top five programs for 15 years, you shouldn't have to make any answers.”

When Ramsey suggested that the job rumors are a compliment, Pitino disagreed.

“It's not a compliment, it's a distraction,” he said. “Distractions in mid-January are hurtful to a team. Do you know how many text messages and how many phone calls I have to make to my recruits that I'm recruiting and spend going out two, three nights a week? I've now got to answer to every one of them. So I'm not going to -- let's drop it, let's put it behind us.”

Pitino said he appreciates the loyalty that Jurich has shown him. And he said that the difficulties the program is going through now, an NCAA investigation into claims made by a former Louisville escort about sex for money with recruits and players, hasn’t made him want to look elsewhere. “I'm not going to do that, because the University of Louisville has been very loyal to me, and I have been very loyal to them,” he said.

“This is a top five job in the nation,” Pitino said. “It is monetarily, it is tradition, it is facilities, it is league -- it is a top five job. So when I leave someday, whatever coach they want, they're going to get. I don't have to answer to anything right now except Florida State. I don't want to have to, in mid-January, answer those questions and refute it. I'm at the University of Louisville -- and that's not putting down any other program that may open -- this is the University of Louisville. A coach should not have to, in January, answer to anything at all.”

Listen to the full interview, or read a transcript, here.

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