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College Basketball

He Puts The ‘Ass’ In ‘Grand Ambassador’: Louisville A.D. Praises Disgraced Rick Pitino

Now that the ugly mess with all the embarrassing personal details which emerged during the Karen Cunagin Sypher extortion trial has reached a resolution – at least as far as the court system is concerned – Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino has little choice but to try and move on and pick up the pieces of his shattered public image, despite the public humiliation he endured which he has only himself to blame.

Fortunately for Pitino, he does have one extremely valuable person in his corner offering his support: his boss, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who surprisingly went out of his way to praise the beleaguered coach on Thursday after Sypher was found guilty of three counts of extortion, referring to Pitino as a “grand ambassador” for Louisville’s athletics department.

Via an AP report in USA Today:

“I feel very proud in the fact that he did own up to everything,” Jurich said. “He understood the consequences taking this to the U.S. Attorney, taking this to the government. He knew his name would be dragged through the mud but he also wanted the facts out there because the only thing that would vindicate him in this case were the facts.

“He’s a grand ambassador for this athletic program,” he said. “When he came here (in 2001), it was a difficult time for all of us and he’s made it much, much better. This is an error in judgement [sic], which he’s always said and been up front with and I certainly think it won’t happen again.”

While I imagine the public display of support will serve Pitino well, I have to disagree with Jurich when he claims that “the facts” which emerged during the trial could in any way possibly serve to help “vindicate” the coach, among them that Pitino lasted only 15 seconds during his sexual encounter with Sypher, which he described as “unfortunate.” Nope. No vindication there. Just another heaping pile of humiliation added on to an already demeaning public ordeal. Yeah, I bet Pitino sincerely hopes something like that “won’t happen again” either. On many, many levels.

Louisville AD: Rick Pitino remains ‘grand ambassador’ [USA Today/AP]
Ky. woman guilty of extortion in coach Pitino case [Yahoo!/AP]