Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Louisville's Rick Pitino has a few options for the next coach of Kentucky men's basketball

INDIANAPOLIS — If the University of Kentucky is listening, former coach Rick Pitino has a couple of things to say about its next coach.

John Pelphrey, for instance.

Travis Ford, perhaps.

Those were the recommendations of Louisville coach Pitino, who coached both men during his time as Kentucky's coach.

"I would have hired either Pelphrey or Ford last time around," Pitino said Saturday. "My first choice would have been Pat Riley. I don't say that in jest. He would have been my first choice because he was a Kentucky basketball player.

"It's such a unique job; you need to win over the fans. You need to win the press conference right away. I don't say this because I love those guys dearly as ex-players. I think they're both brilliant young coaches."

Pitino compared Pelphrey, a Billy Donovan assistant from 1994 -2002 who is now at Arkansas, and Ford, now at Oklahoma State, to where Donovan was before he came to Florida.

"Jeremy Foley, the AD of Florida, called me when Billy Donovan was at Marshall," Pitino said. "I told Billy not to take the Florida job. The program was decimated. They had no players. I convinced Billy not to take that job. At that time, he listened to me.

"I got a phone call 10 minutes later after I hung up from Billy from Jeremy. He said, 'I understand you're talking Billy out of taking this job.' I said, 'I don't dictate what Billy does. I gave my opinion. I don't think your talent is there. I think it's going to take a long time, and I think he's got a great future.'

"He said, 'Speaking of that, let me ask you this question. If I said that in three years, Billy was going to be one of the best young coaches in the game, how would you answer me?' I said, 'I would agree 100 percent.' He said, 'Okay, so why don't I give him a seven-year contract? You call him up and tell him I'll hire him, I'll give him everything he needs.' I'll never forget that.

"I called Billy up and said, 'I think you're going to work for a great man, Billy. I'd take the job.' And in three years, Billy was one of the bright stars in the game."

Three years from now, Pitino said, Pelphrey and Ford will be bright stars, too. They also are beloved by Kentucky fans.

"Everyone loves what those guys represent," Pitino said. "You could take the whole nation, myself, Tom Izzo, anyone else in the equation, those guys would be better than all of us for the job."

Louisville's Rick Pitino has a few options for the next coach of Kentucky men's basketball 03/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 12:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, with Cobb pitching with a purpose


    UPDATE, 12:34: Cash said he has been pleased with Sucre's work and is trying to find playing time for him. ... Cash also said after reading Farquhar's comments about having trouble re-focusing after getting out of a jam and then going back out for a second inning he will factor that in to how he uses him. ... …

  2. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  3. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  4. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  5. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”