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December 6, 2004U of L football coach Bobby Petrino is a hot commodity these days. Rumors have swirled around Louisville about job openings from Notre Dame, Florida, Washington, Mississippi and seemingly all parts in between. While Petrino has already expressed his happiness on the Cardinal Campus, U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino had some noteworthy remarks Monday afternoon in a press conference about his colleague's future with the program.
Coach, you've been through some like this many, many times before- have you spoken with Bobby about the job openings and career moves?
Coach Rick Pitino: "Well, I would have spoken to him if the Florida situation ever materialized. But I don't think he has any interest in any situation so there was no reason to. There's not a situation out there as good as Louisville now. If Florida were available, then you may have to say let's look at this. Look at the positives and the negatives of the situation and then obviously I would have loved to sit down with him. But there is no job out there that is at the level of Louisville- either where we can go or the potential of the program or, quite frankly, financially. For all young coaches who have not made a lot of money in their lives, they do look at it- let's not be naive- they do look at the financial packages, and nobody is going to give him a better financial package than we are out there. So, there's nothing out there for him."
How does a coach handle dealing with the press who want to know every move you make and everything that is going on?
Coach Pitino: "Well, a coach is caught between a rock and a hard place because if you come out and say emphatically- 'I have no interest in anything, don't talk to me about it, that's it' and then you show interest? well, you're a liar. Then if you say- 'Well, I just want to concentrate on the next game' then you'll fuel speculation that you're talking with someone."
"You want to tell the truth in every situation, because the truth should never get you in trouble. So, what you have to do more than anything else is say 'I'm really happy at the University of Louisville and I'm not looking to leave.' Then, if a situation comes along, then every coach has a right to listen. Now, that is just like you would as a TV anchorman. If somebody came from New York City and said 'We're giving you the Big Apple. We're giving you this, and we're giving you that...' then you'd just have to listen. So you just have to be honest with people."
"But I think what you have to do as an objective reporter is what I just said to you. You shouldn't report on anybody being interested in him, because there is no rhyme or reason to it. Now, Florida? You had to do your job. But you know right now there is nothing out there better than Louisville, so why report it?"
"That's where you have to be objective as reporters. There's nothing out there that would interest Bobby Petrino, I don't think. If you tell me there's a job- let me know what it is. I know he's not going to Notre Dame- that's a great football job, but he's not going there. He's certainly not going to Ole Miss- they're open. So what else is open?"
Is he in a place right now where he can't really talk about it?
Rick Pitino: "Remember now, he's got to negotiate his new contract at the University of Louisville. (laughing) We do want him to be compensated for the type of season he's having, and it certainly is not coming out of Tom's pockets (Jurich) or Kenny Klein's pockets."