Rick Pitino, who led Kentucky and Louisville to national titles, is a top target of two influential UCLA boosters to be the school's next men's basketball coach, Forbes SportsMoney reported Friday, citing an unidentified industry source.
Casey Wasserman, a billionaire UCLA alumnus described by Forbes as being "influential" in the hiring of current Bruins football coach Chip Kelly, and high-powered entertainment lawyer John Branca, who graduated from UCLA Law School, are "going after Pitino, that's their No. 1 choice," the source told Forbes.
Pitino, 66, is coaching EuroLeague team Panathinaikos in Greece this season. He was fired by Louisville in October 2017 in the wake of multiple scandals at the school, the last being a pay-for-play scheme involving five-star recruit Brian Bowen. He also led Providence to the Final Four..
He is 770-271 (.740) in 32 seasons at the college level and would offer UCLA, once the most powerful dynasty in the sport, the kind of jolt that might help a program that has fallen on relatively hard times. He does, however, come with the baggage of run-ins with the NCAA.