Before his job status became national news, Richard Pitino spent the early part of the week in Indianapolis and Louisville with his dad’s Final Four-bound Cardinals.
Pitino, who is leaving Florida International University to become head coach at Minnesota, watched Louisville advance to Atlanta by beating Duke in the Midwest Regional at Indianapolis on Sunday.
That meant he witnessed the gruesome broken leg suffered by Cardinals guard Kevin Ware.
“It was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever seen during a basketball game and hopefully I’ll never see it again,” Pitino said. “It’s really a difficult situation. Last year, we went to the Final Four and I can’t tell you how excited we were. And then this year, that happens in the middle of a game and it really was bittersweet.”
Pitino, a Cardinals assistant before taking the FIU job last April, remained with his father, Rick, after the game. The two men visited Ware on Sunday night and Monday morning.
“We hardly even celebrated the win,” Richard Pitino said. “I went to dinner with my dad afterward and that was pretty reserved. Then we went and visited Kevin in the hospital. “
As a Louisville assistant, Richard Pitino helped recruit Ware, from Rockdale County, Ga.
“It’s all moving in the right direction,” Richard Pitino said. “It’s a long road but I know he’ll be able to get better. I’m happy I was able to put a little smile on his face. He’s got an unbelievable amount of support and he’ll continue to get that.”