Pitino selected for the Hall of Fame

ATLANTA – University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is headed to the Hall of Fame. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced Pitino as a member of the Class of 2013 on Monday morning.

It's now official. Rick Pitino is a Hall of Famer.

Pitino will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Hall in September, one of 12 members of the class of 2013 that includes Gary Payton, Bernard King and Jerry Tarkanian.

You know the accolades that send Pitino to the Hall: the only coach recognized by the NCAA for taking three different teams to the Final Four; the 1996 national title at Kentucky and a championship game appearance the next year; seven Final Fours, 663 collegiate wins and 192 more with the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics.

Oh yeah, and a chance to bring a title to Louisville Monday night.

Pitino called the moment a "pretty special distraction" from preparing the Cardinals or tonight's test against Michigan. Pitino would tie John Wooden on the all-time career wins list should Louisville win the championship.

The phone call from the Hall of Fame coincidentally came on Pitino's 37th wedding anniversary, April 3. While Hall of Fame organizers were informing him of the honor, son Richard Pitino texted him to say "Go Gophers, I got the job" at the University of Minnesota.

"When I hung up, I was looking around for lightning to hit me because I thought it was going to end," Pitino said." It was such an unbelievable moment."

Pitino's eyes began to swell with the emotion of the announcement.

"Your mind races with so many people that have a part in this. I'm just so proud to be here."

He saved his final words with emcee Jim Nantz for one of the players that got him to this point, his senior point guard.

"That's one of the more special players I've ever coached in Peyton Siva," Pitino said. Just an unbelievable young man, an unbelievable basketball player."


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