Rick Pitino Will Reportedly Be Inducted into Naismith Hall of Fame

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2013

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, reports Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York.

#Louisville coach Rick Pitino has won induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame, source tells ESPNNewYork.com

— Ian O'Connor (@Ian_OConnor) April 5, 2013

The news comes as Pitino prepares his Cardinals for a Final Four encounter with Wichita State on Saturday. The longtime coach at both the collegiate and NBA levels won the NCAA tournament with Kentucky in 1996.

After finishing his playing career as a guard with Massachusetts, Pitino began coaching as an assistant at Hawaii in 1974. He went on to make stops at Syracuse (as an assistant under Jim Boeheim), Boston, Providence and Kentucky before arriving in Louisville in 2001.

In all, he's been a head coach at the collegiate level across four different decades and has won more than 73 percent of his games. All four of his head-coaching stops were successful, with a winning percentages of at least 64 percent at each school. 

During that span, Pitino also made a couple of forays into the NBA with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. His record at that level wasn't nearly as impressive. He went 192-220 (.466) over six seasons and had just one winning campaign.

That said, Pitino is going into the Hall of Fame based on his extraordinary accomplishments at the college level. He's reached the Final Four seven times, including his current quest for a second NCAA championship, and has won numerous conference titles.

Beyond his ability to build winning programs, the other part of Pitino's legacy is his coaching tree. Many assistants that worked under him have gone on to further coaching success—including his son, Richard, who recently took over for Tubby Smith (another former assistant) at Minnesota.

Winning a second championship on Monday night would be the perfect exclamation point on Pitino's reported induction to the Hall of Fame. Getting the Cardinals to overcome the emotional loss of Kevin Ware would also represent one of his best coaching performances.

Regardless of what happens in this season's Final Four, Pitino's selection to the Hall of Fame is more than warranted considering his track record.