U of L board chair says Pitino will stay

On the eve of his final game of the season, University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino received the support of the school's chairman of the Board of Trustees. Larry Benz said in a statement that it's "our genuine hope is that Coach Pitino is our coach for as many years as he wants."

With growing speculation nationally that University of Louisville Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino could be coaching his final game for the Cardinals tomorrow, the school's chairman of the Board of Trustees released a statement in support of Pitino on Friday night.

Larry Benz, the chair of the board, said in a prepare statement sent to members of the media that the Board of Trustees hopes Pitino is "our coach for as many years as he wants." Benz called it a "genuine hope" of the board.

The U of L team is traveling to Charlottesville, Va., tonight and will play Virginia tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. The Cardinals will be playing their final game of the season since a self-imposed ban for alleged violations in the sex scandal that has rocked the program since October.

The Cardinals final homne game was a win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night. But since the win there have been several national media outlets questioning the future of Pitino, including an ESPN.com article written by Ian O'Conner.

But at least for now, Benz squelched those rumors with his statement that also read:

"I am deeply convinced that the NCAA findings will clear Coach Pitino of any knowledge of the alleged scandal."

The statement also said the Board joins "our athletic director, Tom Jurich, in our complete support of him."

A source close to the Board told Cardinal Authority on Friday night that "Coach Pitino is not going anywhere. He's our coach and will remain our coach."

Pitino has said he will evaluate his situation after the season "like I do every year," but told WDRB.com earlier this week that it's "highly likely" he'll return to the bench next season as the Cardinals' head coach.

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