Larry Brown. Mike Krzyewski. Roy Williams. Jim Boeheim.
They are all members of the Basketball Hall of Fame and all active NCAA coaches.
Someday, Bill Self, John Calipari, and Tom Izzo will be inducted. Maybe even Sean Miller, Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart will earn basketball’s most prestigious honor. But who should be the next active college coach to receive that honor? That answer is simple. Rick Pitino.
Pitino’s resume is impressive, to say the least. He has amassed a record of 643-239 for a .729 winning percentage, which ranks in the top 30 for all-time wins.
In addition, Pitino won the 1996 National Championship with the Kentucky Wildcats, where he coached future NBA stars Antoine Walker and Ron Mercer. He has been to six Final Fours, won numerous coach of the year awards (SEC, C-USA and NABC) and has led four different programs to the NCAA tournament.
He also coached in the NBA with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. Although his NBA career was disappointing by his standards, he found his way back to the college ranks and the Louisville Cardinals.
Plus, he boasts more than twenty former coaches under his tutelage that have become NCAA Division I coaches.
However, Pitino’s biggest contribution to basketball may be the way he has transformed the game with the 3-point shot. He utilized this weapon in 1987, the first year of the rule change, with Billy Donovan leading his Providence Friars to the Final Four. The game has never been the same since.
What else do the voters for the Hall of Fame need to see from Pitino before he gets his just due? Another Final Four? Another National Championship? His team is good enough to accomplish both this season, but that should not make a difference.
It is time to do the right thing and vote Rick Pitino in.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo