Digital Underground circa before Tupac was cool: “It never stopped me from gettin’ busy-I’m a freak-I like the girls with the boom-I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.” End scene.
While the line about Burger King is not incredibly spot-on in the assessment, it is close.
See, it was only in 2009 that Rick Pitino‘s life seemed to be falling apart at the seams. The Kentucky Wildcats had just found their new coach in John Calipari, the Louisville Cardinals ended up being bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and Pitino found himself at the center of an extortion plot.
At the time, Pitino was being blackmailed by some (using the term loosely) lady, Karen Cunagin Sypher, who got it on with Pitino in a restaurant after closing. Considering Pitino was married, Sypher saw an opportunity to cash in. Long story short, she is now in the slammer and he has made a quick recovery to his image.
Back then, however, many felt that it was the end of the road for Pitino. Not only were these people wrong, but Pitino has since thrived in his
second third act as a college coach.
Pitino is now back in the Final Four for the seventh time, a milestone in which very few coaches will ever reach. While what happened in a restaurant back in 2009 was adultery, it was not the game-altering fiasco it might have been to so many others. Pitino has continued to build Louisville into one of the top-tier programs in the nation, and the extortion incident is all but forgotten.
Not to condone what he did, but overcoming the incident has shown how great of a coach he is. Pitino has not only made it past the incident, but thrived. Using the perseverance that he preaches to his players has allowed Pitino to continue building the last act of his great coaching career.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone