Rick Pitino is seeking a cover-up that won’t get him into trouble.
Pitino is set to get a tattoo to replace one that he received five years ago on his upper back celebrating Louisville’s national championship, since Louisville was forced to vacate that championship in February following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s basketball program in its sex scandal case. Pitino was fired in October amid a federal investigation resulting in corruption and bribery charges.
So Pitino is looking for a fresh start, and he’s got an opportunity with the New Zealand Breakers, who offered their vacant head coaching position to Pitino, per the New York Times.
Pitino hasn’t said whether he will take the New Zealand offer, but he made a telling move Monday by announcing that he plans to get a tattoo of the word “whanau,” a Maori word for extended family that is a part of New Zealand English.
“I want to show that I’ve always been about family culture when it comes to basketball,” Pitino said.
Whanau has been adopted as the keyword for the Penn men’s basketball program under coach Steve Donahue, who discovered the word by reading a book about the Maori All-Blacks rugby team from New Zealand.
Pitino is excited about his forthcoming new ink.
“First Tony Hicks and now whanau,” Pitino said. “I take only the best from Penn.”
Penn, meanwhile, will be getting a new phrase to rally behind for the 2018-19 season: “free throws.”
“The family that makes free throws together wins more games together,” Donahue said.