Rick Pitino heads into the Hall of Fame

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday in Springfield, Mass. Cardinal Authority has some quotes on Pitino from former assistant coaches, former players and friends and media types about Pitino.

Hubie Brown, former NBA coach, current analyst

"When you look at the accomplishments he's had at Kentucky and Louisville, you are talking about an outstanding talent who has the ability to motivate basketball players to reach their highest potential. That's a gift and he's been able to do it at a number of different stops along the way. This is the ultimate reward within your profession. It's never going to surpass the birth of your children or your wedding, but it is the ultimate. Talk about a long journey, he's had a long journey but he's accomplished so much and deserves all the accolades."

Scott Padgett

"It was a no-brainer pick for the Hall of Fame. What he has been able to do, every place he's been at is pretty amazing. It was just a matter of when he was getting in, not if he was getting in.

Sean Woods, ex-player and current Morehead State coach

"He means so much to me and I am so happy for him. He came to Kentucky and changed our lives. He's touched so many lives, it's pretty unbelievable."

Ron Carmichael, longtime friend

"I think it's vindication for all of his hard work. I don't think a lot of people realize just how hard he works at it. Its just vindication for all of the hard work he has put in all the years. He's so focused on the next day and just working hard.

Pat Forde, YahooSports.com/Pitino author

"Rick Pitino has been one of the greatest innovators, one of the greatest motivators, has stood the test of time and had he stayed in college basketball he would have been in the Hall of Fame well before now. But it's certainly well deserved at this point of his career."

Eric Crawford, WDRM.com/Author "One Day Contract"

"You have probably heard about all of his accomplishments. I think one thing that will last longer than people realize now is how good he is at training coaches to get into the coaching ranks. I think he's the greatest trainer of coaches in his generation. He probably should have been in a long time ago."

Rick Bozich, WDRB.com

"I still remember the first time I saw him coach his first team here and that was in '87 against Georgetown, who was really good and Alabama, who was really good and they just played a different style of game. I thought ‘Who is this guy?, he's quite a coach'. And then he went to Kentucky and did what he did there and now he has come here and done this. Hall of Fame? Yeah he should have been in the Hall of Fame five or six years ago."

C.L. Brown, former Courier-Journal beat writer

"When you think about it, if he never goes to the NBA from Providence, I think this would have happened a lot sooner and he would have had a chance to be right there with the most winningest college coaches of all-time. His impact in the game just kind of spread across decades now."

Mike Marra, former Louisville player

"It's something he's worked so hard for and he deserves. Playing for Rick Pitino is tough because it's so demanding, but it's also so rewarding. Hearing Rick Pitino and the Hall of Fame doesn't really surprise me at all. He's so deserving.

John Pelphrey, former UK player and current Florida assistant

"First of all, it's an honor for him. In the coaching profession it's something that is a reward, an honor that has embodied the lifetime or work in excellence and certainly coach has that doing it for a number of years and at a number of different places. For someone who has had a chance to have a relationship with him on the court and then life after basketball, it really doesn't have an affect on us who know him and have a love for him. The affection for him because of the impact he had on our lives as players goes much, much deeper. We love and cherish coach for so many reasons that nobody on the outside ever gets to see. What he does it just so impactful on a young person's life."

Rick Avare, business partner/longtime friend

"He has not talked about it that much. At this point in his life, it's probably for others around him more than it is for himself. He just keeps getting better with time. He just keeps getting more humble and more driven."

Herb Sendek, former assistant and current Arizona State head coach

"When you look at his body of work, becoming one of the youngest head coaches and having success. Taking an underdog Providence team to the Final Four and the brilliance he has displayed at Kentucky and now Louisville, it's a natural and expected transition into the Hall of Fame. He's one of the most charismatic people you will ever meet and he's a phenomenal communicator. He mixes that in with mastery and motivation. His charisma always lights up the room."

Charlie Strong, U of L football coach

"I can remember growing up and watching him coach at all of these places he's coached at and watching his success. It's always been about the players with him and that's why he has been so successful."

Dick "Hoops" Weiss, longtime national basketball writer

"First thing that comes to my mind is why did the committee take so long? This is a guy who had Hall of Fame written all over him five or six years ago. He's always been one of the great teachers of the game. He's a throw back. His average players become good and his good players become great. It's no accident that he took this many teams to the NCAA Tournament and this many teams to the Final Four."

Marvin Menzies, former assistant and current New Mexico State head coach

It was always going to happen, it was just a matter of time. When I think about the person he is, the way he handles his business and the way he cares about his family and his basketball family it's so fitting for him to get this honor. He's the guy that if he didn't get it then you would be like, ‘Really?'"

Travis Ford, former UK player and current Oklahoma State head coach

"He's just so deserving. I am obviously a little biased but I think he is the greatest coach there is. What he has given to the game of basketball, he is a true Hall of Famer. He's a guy that what basketball is all about."

Derek Anderson, former UK player

"It's great and I will be there to support him through it. He has supported me throughout my career and I think it's great for him."

Gov. Steve Beshear

"He's one of the best coaches of all-time and we all know that. We love him.

Kareem Richardson, former assistant and current Missouri Kansas-City head coach

"Anybody who follows basketball knows that he should have been sooner, but it's great for him to be able to get in this year. Anybody who has been in the foxhole with him understands just how great and professional he is."

Richard Pitino, son, former assistant and current Minnesota head coach

"It was a special moment when it was announced but he had to play the national championship game that same night. He was so excited about his team that he's not made it about himself. This is his reward for a great, great career and it's not over. It's been such a great journey and hopefully he continues it for a while."

Steve Masiello, ex UK player, former assistant and current Manhattan head coach

"No one deserves it more than him. You look at what he has been through, what he has done and how he's done it. I couldn't be happier that he's in the Hall of Fame and he should have been in long ago. I don't know if anyone has done more for people around the game of basketball than he has done."

Scott Davenport, former assistant and current Bellarmine head coach

"Well earned. He's a giving person who earned it and he earned it by helping others. He's made others better and I speak from a personal standpoint for what he did for me personally and professionally and for my family."

David Padgett, former player and current IUPUI assistant

"He's been worthy of getting in for a few years now but everything works out and this year him going in couldn't be better timing. It's a great, great honor that I know he is proud of and everyone around him is also proud of for him."

Jordan Sucher, Pitino's personal assistant

"It really is a fairy tale ending (to the year). Richard (Pitino) gets the job at Minnesota, he gets into the Hall of Fame and we win the title. It's fitting. He's so deserving and so appreciative."

Stephan Van Treese, current U of L player

"I think it's really cool for him. It's obviously one of the greatest honors you can get as a player of a coach. I came to Louisville to play for him and now I can actually say that I am playing for a Hall of Fame coach.<.p>

Luke Hancock, current U of L player

"I feel pretty honored that I get the opportunity to get to play for him. You can just see how deserving he is being around him."

Russ Smith, current U of L player

"He's been a Hall of Famer in my eyes since I committed. So, I am just really happy for him to be recognized for such an achievement like this.

Dana O'Neill, ESPN.com

"The Hall of Fame honors the longevity of a career as much as the moment we think about and I think that defines Rick Pitino. He has been good for a long, long time at a number of places. It's a lifetime achievement award and he's had a lifetime of success on the basketball floor."

Peyton Siva, former U of L point guard

"I think it's an honor for him and he should have been there a long time ago. He's just such a great all-around coach and a father figure. Not many coaches could win a national title at two different schools."

Dr. James Ramsey, U of L President

"Coach Pitino has done things the right way, he's been to three Final Fours here and it's been a storybook for him. We couldn't be prouder for him."

Ralph Willard, former assistant and longtime friend

"He's affected the lives of so many people. Nobody that's in the Hall of Fame right now that has the coaching tree or affected as many people that Rick Pitino has affected in his lifetime. He's so deserving."

Tom Jurich, U of L athletic director

"The great thing about coach Pitino in my book is what he has done off the court for these players and what a great leader he is. All of our coaches in this department look up to him and he's everybody's friend. He's very humble and very caring."

Jeff Walz, U of L women's coach

"It's neat sitting where I am sitting and having the opportunity to get to know him as a friend. I remember when I first took the job and Tom (Jurich) walked me down to meet him for the first time. I remember watching him at Kentucky when I was in high school and now sitting here and getting to know him like I have been able to, it's really been great for me. It's an unbelievable honor for him."

Kenny Klein, U of L SID

He's a Hall of Famer in more than just a basketball coach. He's a Hall of Fame person, he's a Hall of Fame father, he's a Hall of Fame grandfather, he's a Hall of Fame friend to me. He's been terrific for this university. We couldn't ask for anything more than what he's given us.

Dick Vitale, ESPN college basketball analyst

"I think about a boy, a ball and a dream. A guy who has his dreams, took his ball and went after his dreams on a journey. That journey took him from the days he started, the beat goes on and the bottom line he has been an absolute great teacher and motivator. People don't realize he's such a great bench coach. He has such a feel for the flow of the game. He's an absolute genius."

Jay Bilas, ESPN college basketball analyst

"Rick is one of the great coaches in the history of the game and I would put him on the upper tier with anyone who has ever coached. And that's not as just a winner and a champion but as a teacher of the game and a strategist."

Mick Cronin, former assistant and current Cincinnati head coach

"It was just a matter of time for him and the way it all worked out in the same year with a national championship was probably worth the wait. He's light years ahead of anybody because of what he has done and what he continues to do when you look at the guys he has coach his coaching tree."

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