Rick Pitino is feeling much different about Louisville these days.
In his first television interview in the states since returning from his coaching stint in Greece where he led Panathinaikos to a Greek League championship, Pitino provided a few insights on the present and discussed his future in a conversation on the CBS Sports Network’s “We Need to Talk” show.
Pitino said it was a family matter that convinced him to return to the United States.
“I have a grandson that has a form of epilepsy,” Pitino said. “There’s only 300 people in the world that has this. He’s 1 year old, and I wanted to spend the next six months to help my son and daughter-in-law just turn over every stone to find a great geneticist to find out answers. … I’m just trying to use all my connections that I’ve made in my 40-plus years in coaching to find some way.”
The Hall of Fame coach, once again, took responsibility for the stripper and FBI scandals but stands by his innocence, saying he’d be “the last person to know.”
“How the hell was I supposed to know about this?” Pitino said. “Am I the leader? Yes. Do I have to take responsibility for anything that goes on? Yes.”
It’s been more than a year since the former Louisville coach vowed he wouldn’t return to Churchill Downs unless there were certain conditions — no David Grissom and no John “Pizza guy” Schnatter.
Would he return to the city of Louisville now?
“One hundred percent,” Pitino said. “I love the University of Louisville. I love the University of Kentucky. I love the people of Kentucky. I’m not going to let 5-7, 10 people spoil my feelings for a place I spent 17 years. The one thing you learn when you’re 66 is put it behind you and get over yourself.”
More of this interview with Pitino will air Aug. 23 at 9:30 p.m.