Longtime Louisville Cardinals head basketball coach Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid leave on Wednesday amid a FBI investigation tied to a corruption scandal surrounding the college basketball landscape. Pitino’s son, Richard, who currently coaches the Minnesota Golden Gophers, has since released a statement of his own, via ESPN.
“It’s obviously a difficult time for my father and our family. Like any son, I want what’s best for my dad and I will always support him. Tomorrow is our first official practice and I am fired up for the team we have built. We have a terrific opportunity ahead of us and I can’t wait to work with our guys.”
The elder Pitino, who has been at the Louisville helm since 2001, denied the allegations on Wednesday.
“These allegations come as a complete shock to me,” the Hall of Fame coach said in a statement released by his lawyer, Steve Pence, according to Jeff Greer of The Indy Star. “If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney’s Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable.”
Additionally, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich was placed on unpaid leave as well. However, reports initially surfaced stating that both men had been fired, but such speculation has since been refuted.