What could have been. Rick Pitino coaching at Michigan.

Submitted by Nosce Te Ipsum on October 24th, 2012 at 4:21 PM

I wasn't aware of this but I'm sure a lot of the people on MGoBlog are. Interesting nevertheless, and even though we're in a fantastic situation I wonder what the program would be like if Pitino would've stuck with his initial choice.





October 24th, 2012 at 4:44 PM ^

I just don't get how people can be all up in arms over this. I'm far from a Bill Martin apologist, but is it really incompetent to carve out an hour of your day to only be interupted by true emergencies. And who knows who he was playing Squash with. Returning a call an hour later doesn't seem like it's something to tar and feather a guy over.


October 24th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

Maybe if you're making $40 an hour in an office job.  But when you are an AD of a program like Michigan, that's akin to being a CEO of a company -- and when you are being paid that much, you "work" (or are at least available) all hours of the day.


October 24th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

..but a.) he didn't know what the phone call was about. Hell, he didn't even know who was on it. b.) He could have been playing Squash with the Govenor for all we know.

I'm not going to trash a guy for carving out an hour of his day for this. The way he handled the football coaching search on the other hand...


October 24th, 2012 at 8:00 PM ^

You're being obtuse. As others above have said, in that position, given the circumstances of the hiring process he needs to be available. It has already been established that they had a fake name system in place when he called. You let your secretary know, "if shamalama ding dong calls, PUT HIM THROUGH". End of story.


October 24th, 2012 at 4:50 PM ^

Long story short, we could've had not one but two national championship coaches (Pitno and Les Miles) at Michigan if Bill Martin wasn't such a damn IDIOT!

Pitno and Miles are pretty dirty on the other hand.


October 24th, 2012 at 5:02 PM ^

As a fan of both Providence College and the Celtics I can say that you shouldn't spend too much time lamenting this missed opportunity.   Pitino is a snake and an ass clown of the highest order.

On an unrelated note, my high school biology teacher punched Pitino and broke his nose during a pickup game at UMass in the 70's.  If we ever wanted to get him off track we'd just ask an innocent question about Pitino and watch as he would flip his lid.  Pitino tends to evoke those types of negative reactions in people.


October 24th, 2012 at 5:03 PM ^

Someone on Twitter summed it up best:

What's next?  Finding out we missed out on Terry Francona as our baseball coach while Martin was playing cricket?


October 24th, 2012 at 5:17 PM ^

All of these relevations have shown how serious he took his job.  What a waste he was, and I'm so glad we have Brandon after this.  He wouldn't be playing something stupid like Squash when a bigtime coach was about to decide to coach at your school.


October 24th, 2012 at 9:31 PM ^

It just took someone not as stupid as Tom Goss. Easy to make profits when you're not bungling the budget, and double ticket costs and sometimes quadruple them with seat licenses. He did a good job spending some of that money getting the boxes pushed through (though that was on the promise of there being no owl ticket increases for awhile...yeah....), and everything has been built first rate. But getting the money to do it? Not that hard...you cut costs, or take in more money.


October 25th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

It wasn't some genius getting Eastern Michigan to rake in the dough. He worked for the University of Michigan that was winning more games than anyone else consistently and filling the biggest Stadium in the country week after week no matter what he charged. There's a giant different where at one place you can't give away $5 seats, and the other where you say "pay $1000 just to have the right to then pay for $50 tickets?  Say 'thank you sir, I'll have another' now."  At a place like Michigan it's more amazing to lose money left and right like Goss did. THAT take doing something special.

And good for you....you can't swing a dead cat around here without hitting a dozen people who have worked in athletes....want a cookie?

Section 1

October 25th, 2012 at 3:16 PM ^

For the most part, you are right about the Athletic Department.

What I would say is that while Bill Martin may not have been a "genius" as Athletic Director, he certainly was competent, and probably the preeminent expert, in doing real estate and facilities improvements for the Athletic Department.

As a devotee of Three and Out, I feel certain that there were clearly some failings in the Martin Administration, not the least of which was the failure to attract assistant coaches under Rodriguez.

Bill Martin was the perfect AD for renovating our Stadium(s).  He was a deficient AD when it came to Athletic hiring.

And, as we both know, our old buddy Drew Sharp wrote that Martin would be forever judged a success or a failure solely on the basis of how well Rich Rodriguez did.  Drew Sharp was, as he customarily is, speaking solely and directly to all of the Walverines who read his paper.  And not to the alumni, donors, and others who actually do more than watch the games on tv and yap about them on 97.1. 


October 26th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

I don't think he was the "worst AD EVAR" as some act either. He had his strengths and weaknesses. He knew how to make a buck, get funding from donors, push through plans, and get and ok really good designs (I mean, compare the Halo to the beauty of almost EVERYTHING that's been built).  

He had weaknesses, wasn't really a people person, notoriously cheap, and didn't seem to garner connections that actually helped him through the coach hiring process. He always seemed lost, even when he was successful in that area. And yes, I count hiring Rich as successful, because at the time it seemed like a home run. However the process was a total mess, so sticking with baseball he struck out and popped out numerous times before hitting a game winner. His other really successful hire, Beilein, he got the idea from an article in Sports Illustrated. Glad it stuck in his memory, but I'd like his sources telling him these things before he reads them.

In a time where there was a figurehead AD like when Bo took over, but there was a guy behind the scenes doing all the business, he'd have been brilliant. Let a Bo type lead, makes choices, have connections; and you make sure everything gets done and maximizes. But there's no reason for Bill Martin to want to become an Associate AD.


October 24th, 2012 at 6:21 PM ^

Keep in mind that the full scope of the Ed Martin scandal didn't become apparent until well into Amaker's tenure. Pitino doesn't mention how the unfolding scandal factored into his decision, and I'm pretty sure it did, whether he admits it or not. Even if it wasn't a factor and we had ended up hiring Pitino, would he have stuck around after the sanctions were announced? Would he have gotten out of Dodge a la Dennis Franchione when Alabama got slammed? It's tough to say.

At the end of the day, things worked out. Pitino doesn't strike me as the kind of coach who would want to be at a place where football is king, so he probably wouldn't have stayed. 


October 24th, 2012 at 7:50 PM ^

The sanctions came down early in Amaker's second season.  We just lost one scholarship for a couple of years and the postseason ban was done after that season.  Aside from having to be on good behavior during the probation period, there weren't a lot of restrictions imposed.

Shitty facilities and a pretty dismal lack of talent, not to mention probably a low-ball salary offer in comparison to Louisville probably all would have had more impact on the decision even if he'd owned a crystal ball.

Having lived through so many near-miss seasons under Amaker, I think the bigger "What if...?" question is how would things have changed if he'd only recruited a competent point guard to run the show alongside Horton (who was miscast his whole career as a PG), Bernard Robinson, Abram, Brown, Hunter, Sims, Harris, etc.

snarling wolverine

October 24th, 2012 at 8:51 PM ^

Keep in mind that the full scope of the Ed Martin scandal didn't become apparent until well into Amaker's tenure.

No, it was known by then. The FBI had already raided Martin's house and found evidence. When we hired Amaker, he had a clause extending his contract by a year for every season of probation we were going to get.


October 24th, 2012 at 6:36 PM ^

Not that I feel Rick Pitino is a bad guy, but....

John Beilein Told Police He Had Sex With Woman, Paid For Abortion

... is a headline we will never read.



October 24th, 2012 at 6:36 PM ^

I've always been bitter about the Pitino thing. You can say all want about how you're glad he didn't come because now we have Beilein and yadda yadda yadda. But if Martin had done his job and somehow talked Rick into staying, U of M basketball wouldn't have had to wait until 2012 to be considered a national championship contender again. That being said, the past is the past and the Wolverines could be hanging up a couple new banners in Crisler after this season is over. 8 days.

Buck Killer

October 24th, 2012 at 6:48 PM ^

Pitino and Miles! We could have missed out on Rich Rod. Could you imagine if we hadn't gone through those shitty years. I get Hoke is good, but here in Florida we are considered a joke. I pray we keep climbing and think we will.


October 24th, 2012 at 7:55 PM ^

he's slimey, and i wouldn't have wanted him as the face of our program. even though he wears nice suits and gets flashy big-time recruits,  it's so much easier to get behind a coach with integrity. count me as one who's glad it didn't happen.


October 24th, 2012 at 8:09 PM ^

In hindsight I'm glad we didn't hire Pitino but good god Bill Martin. Between this and the post-Lloyd hiring fiasco - wtf?

If you want time to be completely unavailable, especially during a coaching search, then don't be the AD of one of the most prestigious athletic universities in the fucking world!


October 24th, 2012 at 8:27 PM ^

....from the time Pitino was considering Michigan.


Former Michigan Athletic Director Bo Schembechler told The Detroit News last weekend that it would be a mistake for the University to pay its basketball coach more money than football coach Lloyd Carr.   "I"ve got two words for you never happen," Schembechler said.

I remember this well..... as in I remember it coming out that Bo was pretty vocal in his opinion that a basketball coach would not get paid more than a football coach at Michigan.  I always figured that was the reason it fell through and, as far as everyone really knows, it was.


October 24th, 2012 at 9:26 PM ^

In Kentucky. She just found out after they got there all of their friends were UK people there, and weren't really keen on being buddies with the new head coach of Louisville.

Everyone has dodged the white elephant in the room though. If he comes MSU doesn't dominate the state and conference for the last decade. They are good, but with another national championship coach in the state fighting over recruits, they don't get their pick, and we have a much easier time coming back.

And you can bet Pitino gets that practice facility they always promised Amaker that's one, oh, now.


October 24th, 2012 at 10:03 PM ^

Considering, our basketball program had been in hot water with the NCAA,  I'm glad Martin's squash game kept him from hiring Pitino.  Namely:

Louisville coach Rick Pitino told police that he had consensual sex with and paid for an abortion for the woman who has been charged with trying to extort him..

The NCAA Infractions committee also ordered Pitino to leave Hawaii after some of his actions contributed to the program getting in hot water.

At the end of the day we have Pitino's side of the story about being at squash.  The flip is that Bill realized he wasn't getting a high character guy and was trying to passive-aggressively tank the deal.  



October 24th, 2012 at 11:25 PM ^

Mr. Spot's could have created a new sandwich sensation: Ricky's Noontime Schtupper—an 8-inch Italian sausage slathered in clam marinara on a garlic-toasted ciabatta.