LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has given Rick Pitino a five-year contract extension that will keep the coach with the Cardinals through the 2021-22 season.
His $3.9 million base salary remains the same, but he will earn a $600,000 retention bonus every other year from 2014 to 2022.
The deal includes incentives for being chosen AP national coach of the year ($100,000) and winning the Big East Conference regular season title ($50,000).
”The one thing I realized is that I don’t know if I could live without basketball,” said Pitino, 60. ”I wouldn’t have the highs and the lows, and I guess every coach lives for that. I’ve been playing this game since I was 6 years of age, and it’s been such a passion of mine.”
Though Pitino had hinted at possibly retiring when his current deal expired after the 2016-17 season, he recently sounded like he wanted to stay longer.
After the school’s athletic association met on Monday, an extension was announced on Tuesday.
”I thought it would be a crime if he retired,” Louisville vice president and athletics director Tom Jurich said. ”And it would be cheating the game of basketball.
”There’s only a handful of coaches out there in coach’s caliber, and to see what he means to this place. … He’s going down as the elite of the elite, and it’s meant so much to this program.”
Pitino is 629-234 in 27 seasons as a coach and 275-106 in 11 years at Louisville, which is coming off its second Final Four appearance under him. He led rival Kentucky to the 1996 NCAA title and Providence to the 1987 Final Four.
The second-ranked Cardinals open exhibition play Thursday against NAIA Pikeville.