Pitino maintains innocence, riffs on other hot topics in radio interview

Rick Pitino (Source: Kendrick Haskins, WAVE 3 News)
Rick Pitino (Source: Kendrick Haskins, WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Apr. 5, 2018 at 4:11 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Rick Pitino made a rare appearance on national media Thursday.

The disgraced former Louisville basketball coach spoke at length with radio host Dan Patrick about the two scandals that got him fired from UofL, continuing to maintain his innocence in both cases.

In 2015, self-proclaimed escort queen Katina Powell's bombshell memoir rocked the basketball program with accusations of sex parties involving players and recruits. And last year, the FBI announced a far-reaching investigation into bribery and corruption at several major universities, UofL being the highest profile.

Pitino was fired in October, shortly after the FBI released its findings. His boss, athletic director Tom Jurich, was let go two days later. Both have filed lawsuits against UofL.

"A lot of good things are gonna come out for me in this lawsuit," Pitino told Patrick. "The facts are gonna come out."

Pitino said that as soon as he learned of the FBI investigation last year, he immediately asked his lawyer to call one of their associates -- a former FBI agent who specializes in polygraph testing -- so he could take one himself. At the center of UofL's alleged involvement in the investigation was a prized recruit named Brian Bowen, whose family allegedly received money from one of Pitino's assistants.

"(The polygraph specialist) asked me two questions ... 'Did you have any knowledge that Adidas was doing anything involved this case with Bowen?' I said absolutely not," Pitino said. "'Were you involved (with) the family in any way to give any money to Brian Bowen or his family?' Absolutely not. I passed the lie detector."

When Patrick, a highly decorated broadcaster for more than 25 years, asked Pitino how he didn't know about either the sex parties or the alleged pay-for-play scenario, he shot back with a question of his own.

"You said that I should have known," Pitino began. "Did your parents know what you did on a Friday and Saturday night?"

But he eventually acknowledged the optics don't look great when asked if he'd believe his story if someone else was telling it.

"Absolutely not," Pitino said. "It's probably not gonna work for me in college basketball."

Pitino was adamant that Miami coach Jim Larranaga, also implicated in the FBI probe, isn't guilty of any wrongdoing.

"I know from the bottom of my heart that Jim Larranaga is innocent," he said. "I know that ... I would tell you that 90 percent of college basketball is clean. And I would have said that when I first started 40 years ago."

The Hall of Fame coach also shot down recent rumors that he was close to getting the job at Rhode Island.

"I have never talked to the athletic director; I have never talked to the president at Rhode Island," he said.

As Pitino fights to clear his name, he said his son, Minnesota coach Richard Pitino, is trying to steer him away from the drama.

"Dad, nobody cares," Pitino said his son told him. "'Get on with your life. You're not gonna coach again ... Why don't you just be happy and get on with your life?'"

Check out the full Dan Patrick interview below:

+  Pitino explains "Strippergate"

+ Pitino asked about Rhode Island job, other opportunities

+ Pitino: 'It will come out that I'm innocent'

+ Pitino says UofL jumped the gun by firing him

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