When Louisville defeated Michigan 82-76 in a thrilling and exhilarating national championship game on Monday, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino became the first coach in the history of college basketball to win two titles with two different schools.
In 1996, Pitino led the Kentucky Wildcats to the national championship, and winning a title with Kentucky’s arch-rival Louisville is the equivalent of a football coach winning a championship at Alabama and Auburn or a basketball coach winning a title at North Carolina and Duke.
Pitino, who has also taken teams to the Final Four in four different decades, also won his 664th game, tying the Wizard of Westwood John Wooden on the all-time list.
It was quite a week for Pitino. His son, Richard, became the head coach at Minnesota. Goldencents, a horse Pitino co-owns, made it to the Kentucky Derby. And he got inducted into basketball’s Hall of Fame, for good measure.
Pitino said he coached the toughest 13 players he has ever coached, and he said Monday night was “as good as it gets.”