Rick Pitino seriously considered retirement

Louisville coach Rick Pitino contemplated retirement at the end of the season, but his wife, Joanne, talked him out of it, he said Thursday in a radio interview on WHAS.

Pitino, 58, added he was committed to coaching for at least the next few years and has a successor in mind he would recommend to athletic director Tom Jurich. The coach he likes to replace him isn't 28-year-old son Richard Pitino, who could soon join the program as associate head coach, but rather Butler's Brad Stevens.

"About two weeks prior to the season ending, I was really, really pleased. I sat back. I was very content, and I thought about my future and when I would pack it in. For the first time since I've been a coach, I thought about it. I talked it over with my wife. I really seriously thought about stepping away for the first time, and she would have nothing of it. She said, 'You have so much to give to these kids and the program, and you are not packing it in.' She said, 'You'll know when it's time, and now is not your time.' She said, 'I've watched you for years, and you probably had more energy this year than any other time I've known you, so don't even think about it.' And I put it to rest.

"I think I can do it for anywhere from three to five more years. I don't know who the successor would be. My first guy on the list I would recommend three to five years from now is the coach at Butler. He would be the type of person that I would recommend. It's that type of person I think would be great at the University of Louisville. I'm sure there are other guys out there like him that will develop that we'll move on."

Pitino, who won a national title at Kentucky, said he wanted to leave Louisville on top and that his son, Richard, was too young to be a coach-in-waiting for the Cardinals.

The retirement talk had also recently surfaced in the moments after Louisville lost in upset fashion to Morehead State in an opening-round NCAA tournament game.

"My window is closing in coaching," Pitino said last month. "I said I could leave this year and be a happy man. And I could have with this team because they were just a sheer delight to coach the whole season. You always want to coach a team like this in your last years that you coach the game."