Rick Pitino's Remaining A Louisville Cardinal For SIX More Years

Louisville Cardinal, Head Basketball Coach, Rick Pitino will receive a base salary of $2.25 million for the next three seasons and then $2.5 million a year from 2010-2013.

Pitino, who was hired in 2001, also has several deferred compensation bonuses had an earn in the contract, including one on July 1 of $1.75 million.

He can earn an extra $3.6 million if he is still coaching in March of 2010 and another $3.6 million if he completes the new contract.

All told, Pitino can earn $23.2 million over the next six seasons — excluding performance bonuses.

This as the University of Louisville extended the contract of men's basketball coach Rick Pitino three years, boosting his association with the Cardinals through the 2012-13 season.

The only coach in NCAA history to take three different teams to the Final Four, Pitino had three years remaining on his current contract, which would have tied him with the Cardinals through the 2009-10 season. The agreement will take Pitino into the first three years of the new downtown arena being constructed on the Louisville riverfront. U of L men's and women's basketball will serve as the primary tenants for the new facility scheduled to open for the 2010-11 season.

"Rick has meant so much not only to our men's basketball program, but to this community," said U of L Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "He has our team primed for another great run next season and I'm sure we will keep that going in years to follow. He obviously has Hall of Fame credentials and there's no one I would rather have as our coach. I'm thrilled that we can count on him guiding our men's basketball program for at least the next six years."

Pitino will welcome back one of his most anticipated U of L teams next season. Louisville, which won eight of its last 10 games last year and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, will return four starters and its top seven scorers for the 2007-08 season. Pitino guided the Cardinals to a 24-10 record last season, a No. 16 national ranking in the final Associated Press poll (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today) and a tie for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a 12-4 league mark.

In 21 seasons as a collegiate head coach at four different schools, Pitino has compiled a 494-182 record, a .731 winning percentage that ranks him 11th among active coaches. He has a 142-58 record in six seasons at U of L since joining the Cardinals on March 21, 2001, an average of nearly 24 victories per season.

Among active coaches, Pitino has the second-highest winning percentage in NCAA Tournament games, winning 74.4 percent of his games in the post-season event with a 32-11 record in 12 tournament appearances. He is one of a select group of four coaches who have taken teams from four different schools to the NCAA Tournament. A 2006 inductee to the New York City Hall of Fame, Pitino is one of 10 coaches all-time who have reached the Final Four on at least five occasions.

Pitino's finest season with the Cardinals to date was in 2004-05 when U of L was No. 3 in the nation in the final ESPN/USA Today poll while posting a stellar 33-5 record, matching the most victories in U of L history. U of L won its first-ever Conference USA regular season title and also claimed the league tournament championship. Louisville reached its first NCAA Sweet 16 since 1997 as the No. 4 seed in the Albuquerque Regional before advancing to its first NCAA Final Four since 1986 in Pitino's fifth career Final Four.

Pitino's impact on the U of L program has gone well beyond his on-court success. The overall grade point average of the men's basketball team in recent years has been the highest at U of L since tracking that statistic since 1984. Nine of the Cardinals' 11 seniors over the last four years have earned their collegiate degrees, including all five over the last two years. Average season attendance rose nearly 2,000 in Freedom Hall to a sold-out situation in the first year of his arrival and U of L has a substantial waiting list.

A renovation of Cardinal Arena was funded through private donations upon his arrival. U of L built Minardi Hall, a campus dormitory built in 2003, with private funds raised primarily through Pitino's efforts, and he assisted in obtaining the lead gift on the Yum! Center, the Cardinals' new practice facility due to open in August. Gifts to men's basketball and the Cardinal Athletic Fund, as well as U of L's net marketing financial benefits, have risen significantly since his arrival. He is a living, breathing icon for the university and the Louisville community across the national landscape.

For three and a half years, Pitino served as president and head coach of the NBA's Boston Celtics. With the Celtics, he took over a team that had posted a franchise worst 15-67 record before his arrival. He quickly made an impact, improving the Celtics' victory total by 21 games in his first season. He resigned his position with the storied franchise on Jan. 8, 2001 after compiling a 102-146 record there.

He guided Kentucky to three NCAA Final Four appearances in his last five years at Kentucky, winning the 1996 NCAA Championship and reaching the national title game in 1997. In eight seasons with the Wildcats, he amassed a 219-50 record (.814) while winning two league crowns and an impressive 17-1 record in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. While at UK, Pitino coached three Wildcats who earned All-America honors and eight players who were drafted by the NBA, including six in the first round (three lottery picks).

Pitino, 54, got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Hawai'i in 1974 and served as a full-time assistant there in 1975-76. He served two seasons as an assistant at Syracuse under Jim Boeheim from 1976-78.

Pitino was only 25 years old when he accepted his first head coaching job at Boston University in 1978. He produced a 91-51 record in five years there, departing as the most successful coach in BU history. In his final season there, he guided the Terriers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 24 years. He was twice named New England Coach of the Year (1979, 1983).

Pitino left Boston U. to become an assistant coach for the New York Knicks from 1983-85, where he worked with head coach Hubie Brown. It was a team he would return to lead as its head coach in two seasons. Pitino is one of seven current collegiate head coaches with NBA head coaching experience.

He was head coach at Providence College for two seasons (1985-87), producing a 42-23 record there. He guided the Friars to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1986 and a trip to the NCAA Final Four in 1987, winning the regional championship in Freedom Hall. Pitino and that Final Four squad will meet in Providence for a 20-year reunion May 11-12.

Before his stint at Kentucky, Pitino served as head coach of the New York Knicks for two seasons. In his initial year there in 1987-88, the Knicks improved by 14 victories and made the NBA Playoffs for the first time in four seasons. The Knicks won 52 games in 1988-89 and swept the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

He earned his degree in 1974 at Massachusetts, where he was a standout guard for the Minutemen's basketball team. His 329 career assists rank eighth all-time at UMass and his 168 assists as a senior is the sixth-best single season total ever there. Pitino was a freshman during NBA legend Julius Erving's senior year.

Born Sept. 18, 1952, Pitino is a native of New York City where he was a standout guard for St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, Long Island. There, he captained his team and established several school scoring marks.

Pitino and wife Joanne have five children: Michael, Christopher, Richard, Ryan and Jacqueline.

Story Courtesy: The University Of Louisville & AP Wire Reports

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