University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich wants men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino to sign a another contract extension that would keep him at U of L until he’s 70 years old.
Pitino’s current contract expires in 2017, but Jurich says he’s been after the coach to sign on for an additional five years.
The two joked about it briefly during a press conference Monday.
“We get to extend your contract, don’t we?” asked Jurich.
“Yeah,” Pitino fired back. “So I can die on the court.”
The 60 year old Pitino said late last year that he planned to stop coaching at the end of his current contract, but this month he told an interviewer he’d probably stick around longer provided he’s healthy.
Jurich says he’s optimistic Pitino will agree to an extension.
“This guy’s got more energy than any human being alive, so I think it would be a crime to see him retire,” Jurich said.
Last season, Pitino led the Cards to their first NCAA Final Four appearance in seven years, and most preseason surveys have U of L ranked among the nation’s top three teams.
Jurich thinks Pitino has been rejuvenated by his recent players.
“Originally it was, ‘no we signed one (extension), we’re going to stay with that,’ but I think now he’s (ready to stay),” Jurich said.
“You have to credit this to all these kids. There’s no other way to look at it. It’s not the success, it’s not the Final Four, it’s not the number one, two, three, eight ranking, wherever we are. It’s those kids. Those kids are just something special to him.”
Pitino will earn a base salary of $3 million this season. It goes up to $3.9 million next season.