LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and disgraced former basketball coach Rick Pitino traded barbs on the Louisville airwaves Wednesday.
Pitino is making the media rounds promoting his new memoir, “Pitino: My Story.” In it he calls Bevin a “religious zealot,” and a man with a “puritanical streak.”
On 840 WHAS Radio, Pitino told hosts Tony Cruise and Paul Rodgers that Bevin, and the UofL Board of Trustees he installed following Dr. James Ramsey’s ouster, were behind athletic director Tom Jurich’s downfall.
“There’s no question in my mind that they had it in for Tom Jurich,” Pitino said. "(Bevin) could have stopped this board from acting the way they did, and he chose not to ...
“I do think Gov. Bevin had a problem with Tom because (Jurich) wouldn’t give back the money (on the KFC Yum! Center deal). Tom felt a deal was a deal. He did all the marketing. He sold the tickets, he sold the suites, he felt an agreement was in place, and didn’t feel the agreement should be changed because (the city, the state and UofL) weren’t living up to their end of the bargain. So they had a little bit of a conflict. My feeling is definitely that the governor was not in Tom’s corner.”
Also during the radio interview, Pitino continued his denials of any knowledge of the Katina Powell sex scandal that broke in 2015, and the FBI investigation into alleged corruption that ultimately led to Pitino’s termination last year.
In a separate interview, also on WHAS, Bevin pulled even fewer punches.
“It’s pretty sad,” Bevin told WHAS. “He was a great coach. And his life is devolving into this ... It’s just sad to see what he’s done with his life, and how desperately he’s trying to make sense of it.”
Pitino, the Hall of Fame coach who once led UK to a national championship, coached UofL for 16 seasons, winning the 2013 national championship before the NCAA this year upheld its ruling that the Cards must vacate that title because of the sex scandal.
“(Pitino) now just sounds like a desperate, angry, bitter person who wants to lay blame everywhere but at his own feet, which is where so much of it belongs,” Bevin said.