LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - Former Louisville Men's Basketball Coach Rick Pitino sat down for an interview with ESPN's Jay Bilas to talk about the scandal that led to his firing.
Pitino told Bilas he did not know one of his assistant coaches was involved in getting an alleged payment to the family of Brian Bowen. The allegation came to light last month when the FBI arrested ten people after a lengthy investigation.
"Should I have known that somebody walked into a hotel room? I don't see how I could possibly know," Pitino said. "In the other case, people say 'How did you not know?' Well, there were security in the building, assistant coaches, 20 managers. We monitor social media. Not one thing came out in social media in that other case. So should I know? Let's just say I take ownership for who I hired and take full responsibility for that."
"If I knew something was wrong, I immediately would have terminated anybody in that situation. I have very little -- I don't have any tolerance for people that do the wrong thing in that area. I do go over every little point, but no, I didn't know someone walked in a hotel room and was part of a sting operation. No, I didn't know that."
According to the FBI, a Louisville assistant coach met in a Las Vegas hotel room with a top Adidas executive, an AAU coach, and an agent to discuss getting payments to the player of a family who would, in turn, commit to playing for the Cardinals. While federal officials arrested four coaches in the investigation, they have not charged anyone from UofL.
Pitino says he took no part in this scheme and knew nothing about it. He points to results of a lie detector test as proof.
"I've already been vindicated. Not by a lie detector test, just by the text messages, my players have sent me. The phone calls from my assistant coaches. Other people."
Pitino also feels his firing was unfair.
"To me, this board of trustees locking me out of my office, telling me I'm dismissed before facts came out, let it develop. They're not the University of Louisville. They're a board hired by the governor to deal with the president situation a while ago. They're not the University of Louisville that I know."
Bilas asked Pitino if he would ever want to coach again.
"I don't know. I'm not sure I want to," Pitino answered. "You know, I'm just trying to concentrate on today, and I'm really not concerned about the future."