NEW YORK — Former Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said he is “living vicariously” through his son, University of Minnesota men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino, in an interview Saturday at Barclays Center.
Pitino, who was fired by Louisville’s Athletic Association in October following a federal investigation into corruption within the men’s basketball program, has been in New York during the Thanksgiving weekend taking in the 14th-ranked Golden Gophers, who are participating in the Barclays Center Classic.
“I’m a cheerleader,” Pitino said, when asked if he can watch his son coach. “I just root for him every possession. For me, being out of work, I am living vicariously through him.”
Pitino compiled a 773-271 record with Hawaii, Boston University, Providence, Kentucky and Louisville. He won national championships in 1996 with Kentucky and 2013 with Louisville.
He said Minnesota’s soon-to-open basketball and football facilities will be the “best in America, by far.” The facility is scheduled to open in January.
“I thought Louisville was great, Kentucky was great. Nothing matches what Minnesota did,” Pitino said. “A $180 million football-basketball (facility). It’s much needed for years. It’s going to change the program.
“Minnesota is a legitimate, big-time team. They don’t have a weakness. They play together. They’re humble. They’re really hungry to win.”