Rick Pitino, who has maintained homes in Westchester for more than 25 years, was placed on unpaid leave as head men's basketball coach at the University of Louisville a day after the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced Federal criminal charges have been brought against 10 people, including four college basketball coaches, in a bribery and corruption scandal.
Amid reports Louisville had $100,000 provided to a blue-chip recruit to secure his commitment in July, Pitino denied he had any knowledge of the incident. Pitino similarly denied he was aware of a sex scandal revolving around Louisville's Billy Minardi Hall, the on-campus dorm for athletes and other students in 2015.
The dorm name honors Minardi, Pitino's brother-in-law who lived in Bedford, who was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich, who opted to retain Pitino as coach after the sex scandal amid NCAA sanctions, was placed on paid leave on Wednesday.
Louisville President Greg Postel said at an early Tuesday afternoon news conference that he was more angry than embarrassed when the latest bribery allegations surfaced.
The move to place the two on leave rather than immediately firing them is in accordance with both men's contracts. Postel said an interim head coach will be named later this week with the priority finding "someone with integrity." Steve Pence, Pitino's attorney, said Pitino was "effectively fired" and promised a "bare-knuckle fight" between the Hall-of-Fame coach and the university, which would owe Pitino $44 million on his contract if he was fired without cause.
The university's Board of Trustees unanimously supported Postel's decision to regarding Pitino, who is the highest paid coach in college basketball at $7.65 million per year, and Jurich.
Pitino lived in Bedford when he coached the Knicks from 1987 to '89. He maintained the residence there when he coached the University of Kentucky until 1997 before purchasing the home in Armonk.
Pitino was involved in another sex scandal in 2009 when he said he paid for an abortion for a woman who he admitted to having consensual sex with and whom he said tried to extort him.
The 65-year-old Pitino, the only NCAA men's basketball coach to guide two different teams to national titles, and his wife, the former Joanne Minardi, have five children.
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