Old wounds aside, Kentucky pays tribute to Rick Pitino for hall of fame enshrinement

Kyle Ringo

Louisville coach Rick Pitino is being enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, in part, because of what he accomplished as coach at Kentucky back in the 1990s. It's only fitting that Kentucky decided to pay tribute to the man.

Kentucky purchased a full-page ad in the enshrinement program congratulating Pitino on his accomplishment 'on behalf of the Big Blue Nation.'

There are some Kentucky fans who might have grown past the grudge they held against Pitino when he left his job as head coach of the Wildcats back in 1997 to coach the Boston Celtics. But many of those same fans will never forgive Pitino for taking over as coach at rival Louisville in 2001 after his stint with the Celtics didn't work out.

Yet, as Pitino is being enshrined on Sunday, the Kentucky is giving Pitino his due in a classy move. Not sure how it will ultimately go over with some of these folks.

Pitino is the only coach in NCAA history to take three programs to the Final Four. He is also the only coach to win national titles with two schools.

He went 219-50 in his eight seasons coaching the Wildcats and his teams played for the national title in back-to-back years in 1996 and 1997, winning the first time.

Pitino led Louisville to the national title last season and is expected to have a top five team when the season begins in November.

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