Pitino Wishes to Honor Liberty Bowl Champions

Louisville basketball head coach Rick Pitino said that he would hope that the focus would return to the accomplishment of the football players and team and not the turmoil regarding Coach Bobby Petrino.

Following his teams 98-64 dispatching of visiting Tennessee State on Sunday afternoon, U of L head coach Rick Pitino was asked to comment on the situation concerning head football coach Bobby Petrino.

While he said it was difficult to compare his decision to replace Denny Crum as head coach of the Cardinals, he says that he hopes that Coach Petrino grows to love the school for the people as he does.

"My life is so different than anybody else's life," explained Pitino. "It was very difficult for me to come to the University of Louisville, because I knew a lot of the static that I would take and even from my friends, but to me it was worth it. To me this is the greatest school in America. I say that, not because we are better than Duke academically or better than anybody in basketball or football...I say it because of the people. The reason I chose to come back to Kentucky wasn't because of the mountains, the lakes or the beauty, it was because of the people. The reason I wanted to be at the University of Louisville was because of the people and I think Coach Petrino will find that out in time."

He added that because of the turmoil created when Petrino met with LSU officials prior to the Liberty Bowl has made it difficult to honor the players that helped the football program enjoys its best season in school history.

"It's tough for us personally to work there right now because we want to honor and celebrate the players and the team and we aren't getting the opportunity," continued Pitino. "We all feel that this is the greatest place on earth and if somebody else doesn't feel that way it bothers us. All of us right now are very bothered, because we are not honoring this great football team. I wish we would just reverse to the story there and honor the kids the way they should be."

As a coach that has found impressive success recruiting throughout his career, Pitino, who has his Cardinals off to an 11-2 record, realizes how that continued negative reporting on Petrino will effect the football coaches recruiting efforts.

"What happens when you get negativity is every recruit gets it and that's what I worry about," Pitino said. "Right now come next week, every report and everything on the internet, will be on some recruits lap, so I wish [the negativity] would go away right now, because recruiting is the lifeline."

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