Rick Pitino has the winning touch as exemplified by his becoming the first NCAA coach to lead three different teams to the NCAA Final Four. Leading through his own example of hard work and solid execution, he transformed each of his college teams, leading Kentucky’s men’s basketball team to the Final Four three times in five years. Pitino is ranked on two of coaching’s most elite lists: both the winningest active college basketball coaches and winningist all-time college basketball coaches lists. With a talent for rebuilding and re-energizing stumbling organizations, his techniques are a proven commodity, in sports and in the business world. With his captivating personality, Pitino offers practical steps to help teams maintain focus and act with group integrity through decisiveness, flexibility and consistency. Pitino is the author of Success Is A Choice, Lead to Succeed and Rebound Rules. With the mind of a brilliant coach and the charisma of a leading man, Rick Pitino is an inspiring leader who instills his teams with the drive and the skills to succeed on the court and off.
Success Is a Choice
Rick Pitino takes the same proven methods that have earned him and his teams legendary status in the NCAA to give you a plan of attack for achieving extraordinary success in your own life. Pitino’s ten-step plan isn’t for quitters or for people looking for the easy road to success. But neither is it for the superstar talents or those with a Midas touch who expect their luck to hold forever. “Success Is a Choice” is for anyone who is serious about making dreams reality. It’s a tool for preparing yourself for the challenges you face – from developing habits and discipline that will get you started down the path to success to learning the value of ferocious persistence as you begin to reach and surpass your goals. Basketball fans have already recognized Rick Pitino’s ability to get the most from his players. His message applies just as well off the court. An inspiring step-by-step program that will motivate almost anyone to perform better, “Success Is a Choice” can make a remarkable difference in your own life.
Rick Pitino, one of the most brilliant minds in coaching, began a new era in University of Louisville men’s basketball when he was named head coach of the Cardinals on March 21, 2001. The only coach in NCAA history to take three different teams to the NCAA Final Four, Pitino’s up-tempo style, pressure defense, strong work ethic and family atmosphere have quickly returned the Cardinals to national prominence.
In 24 seasons as a collegiate head coach at four different schools, Pitino has compiled a 572-210 record, a .732 winning percentage that ranks him twelfth among active coaches. His current contract ties him with U of L through the 2012-2013 season.
Pitino’s most recent Cardinals reached 20 victories for the eighth straight year against a top ten rated schedule. Along the way, U of L tied for fifth in arguably the nation’s toughest league, beat then top- ranked Syracuse in the regular season finale and earned the Cards’ 36th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Last year, the Cardinals earned both the BIG EAST Conference regular season and tournament championships, won 31 games—fifth most in school history—and gained the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament before reaching the NCAA Elite Eight for the second straight year. U of L earned its first ever Associated Press No. 1 ranking in the final poll of the year.
Two years ago, his Cardinals overcame early injuries to its front line to win 27 games against a schedule rated as the fourth-toughest in the nation. An aggressive, multiple defensive attack helped U of L earn a second-place finish in the BIG EAST for the second consecutive year and advance to the Cards’ second NCAA Elite Eight appearance in four years.
In 2007-08, Pitino’s youthful squad also battled through injuries to win eight of its last ten games and rise among the nation’s top 20 teams over the last four weeks. The Cards won 24 games, including a pair on the road over top 15 ranked teams, earned a second-pace finish in the Big East Conference and were No. 16 in the final Associated Press ranking.
The Cardinals were No. 3 in the nation in the final 2004-05 ESPN/USA Today poll while posting a stellar 33-5 record, matching the most victories in U of L history. U of L won its first-ever Conference USA regular season title and also claimed the league tournament championship. Louisville reached its first NCAA Sweet 16 since 1997 as the No. 4 seed in the Albuquerque Regional before advancing to its first NCAA Final Four since 1986.
The successes of the 2005 Final Four squad were built upon the efforts of his early teams at U of L. The Cardinals won 16 straight during one stretch in 2003-04 and rose to as high as fourth in the national polls before a trio of key injuries disrupted the Cardinals’ flight. U of L won 20 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in six years. Pitino gained his 400th career coaching victory with a 73-65 victory over then top-ranked Florida on Dec. 13, 2003, the first of two wins that season U of L achieved over No. 1 ranked foes.
In his second year at U of L in 2002-03, the Cardinals reached the No. 2 position in the Associated Press poll and spent time as the nation’s top team in the Ratings Percentage Index and Sagarin Ratings. After a 1-1 start, the Cardinals reeled off an incredible 17 straight victories, one short of the school record and the second-highest ever in Conference USA history. U of L won its first-ever C- USA Tournament title.