Louisville coach Rick Pitino, one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history who has won 770 games and two national championships and made seven Final Four appearances while also weathering multiple scandals, was put on unpaid leave Wednesday.
Louisville is among the programs accused of working with an Adidas representative to funnel $100,000 to the family of an elite prospect in exchange for his commitment, per FBI documents that led to multiple arrests of college basketball assistant coaches from prominent teams.
Pitino, the first coach in NCAA history to take three schools (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville) to the Final Four, is also the first Division I coach to win national titles for two programs. He's also coached the NBA's New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Here is a timeline of the highs and lows of Pitino's coaching career:
March 1987: Pitino, then 34 years old, leads Providence, a sixth seed in the South Region, to the Final Four after a win over No. 1 seed Georgetown in the Elite Eight.
Summer 1987: Pitino agrees to coach the New York Knicks.
May 1989: Announcing his preference for the college game, Pitino leaves the Knicks after two seasons and a 90-74 record to accept the head-coaching job at Kentucky. Following the forced resignation of coach Eddie Sutton, Pitino takes over a team on NCAA probation with a two-year postseason ban and returns them to the 1993 Final Four. He also hires Bernadette Mattox, the first female assistant for a men's team in Division I history.
March-April 1996: Pitino leads Antoine Walker, Ron Mercer and a fleet of future pros to the national championship, the sixth in Kentucky men's basketball history, after a 76-67 victory over Syracuse in the title game.
May 1997: After Kentucky loses to Arizona in the 1997 national title game, Pitino accepts a 10-year, $70 million deal to be president and coach of the Boston Celtics. "I could stay and coach at Kentucky and be very happy, but there's a challenge out there that I want to take," he says at the time. "It's a monster challenge." The Celtics, coming off a 15-67 season, have the best shot at Wake Forest star Tim Duncan in the draft lottery. Pitino promises fans he will have Boston back in the playoffs in three years. The Celtics instead land the third pick, where they select guard Chauncey Billups.
March 1, 2000: After a loss to the Toronto Raptors, Pitino utters an infamous message to Celtics supporters: "Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans. Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they're going to be gray and old."
January 2001: Pitino, after going 102-146 in Boston, resigns with 6½ years and $27 million left on his contract. "Sometimes change is good just for the sake of change when things aren't going well," he says. "It's heartbreaking to me, what's happened here. I love the Boston Celtics and I'll always be a fan."
March 2001: Louisville hires Pitino to replace longtime coach Denny Crum, who retired. At his introductory news conference, Pitino says he was close to accepting the job at Michigan, but Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who said Pitino was his only candidate for the job, was the difference-maker.
"And they said, 'What's stopping you from doing that?' and I said, 'Cowardice. I can't get on the phone and tell Tom no. I can't tell him this.'"
July 2003: Pitino meets Karen Sypher at an upscale Italian restaurant in Louisville, where the two engage in a sexual encounter after the business has closed for the night.
March 2005: Under Pitino, the Cardinals reach the Final Four, the school's first appearance in the national semifinals since its 1986 national championship run.
April 2009: Pitino announces he's the target of an extortion attempt by Sypher.
July 2010: Pitino testifies against Sypher during her extortion trial, prompted by accusations she tried to blackmail the Louisville coach by requesting millions in cash, a home and expensive vehicles to stay silent about their affair. "Some unfortunate things happened," Pitino testifies at Sypher's trial. "She opened up my pants." Pitino also says the sex lasted "15 seconds" and denies Sypher's accusations, which she reported to Louisville police, that Pitino raped her on two occasions.
Pitino admits to giving Sypher $3,000 after she told him she was pregnant and planned to have an abortion but lacked health insurance.
February 2011: A judge sentences Sypher to seven years in prison after she's convicted of extortion, retaliation against a witness and lying to the FBI in the aftermath of her tryst with Pitino.
Pitino appeals for fans to move on from the scandal, saying it's been "pure hell" for his family.
"I've been blackmailed seven months ago and these allegations were proven false," Pitino said. "I'm asking all university fans that if any of you put this on the news anymore, if you're fans of anything we've accomplished, just change the channel. And if the newspapers want to write about it, just read something else."
April 2013: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announces that Pitino will be inducted in the 2013 class.
That same month, Pitino leads Louisville to the national title after an 82-76 victory over Michigan, a year after the team's Final Four loss to Kentucky. It's the second national championship for Pitino, who becomes the first Division I coach to win a national title at two schools.
June 9, 2015: Louisville gives Pitino a 10-year extension worth $50.93 million.
Oct. 2, 2015: Katina Powell, a self-proclaimed escort, publishes a book titled, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," which details sex-for-pay for 22 parties for Louisville recruits from 2010 to 2014 that she says she arranged at Billy Minardi Hall, which houses Cardinals basketball players. She says the parties were organized and paid for by former assistant Andre McGee. She says that she tried to go to the NCAA before writing her book but was ignored.
"This is all about money. People will say and do anything for money," Pitino says of the book at the time. "I don't know if any of this is true or not. There's only one person who knows the truth, and he needs to come out and tell the truth to his teammates, to the University of Louisville, to his fans and to his coaches that have taught him to do the right thing for years. ... I don't care about the legal issues. If he's done something wrong, he has to own up to it and do his penance."
Pitino says neither he nor his staff knew about the allegations, which he calls "mind-boggling," saying "my heart was broken."
The NCAA launches an investigation and Louisville subsequently admits the parties occurred. Pitino encourages McGee to "do the right thing" and admit his role in the scandal. McGee never speaks to the NCAA.
Feb. 5, 2016: Louisville announces it will not participate in the 2016 NCAA tournament or any postseason tournament, an attempt to minimize any penalties the NCAA levies for its sex-for-pay scandal.
Oct. 11, 2016: Pitino says he is confident Louisville will not receive further NCAA punishment, suggesting the school's self-imposed sanctions fit the violations that occurred.
Oct. 20, 2016: The NCAA accuses Louisville of four Level I violations. The school is not charged with any violations, but Pitino is charged with failure to monitor McGee.
June 3, 2017: Brian Bowen, a five-star prospect from Saginaw, Michigan, surprises analysts when he commits to dark horse Louisville via Twitter. The commitment moves Louisville to No. 7 overall in ESPN.com's rankings for the 2017 class.
Pitino tells Lexington WHAS-AM radio host Terry Meiners: "We got lucky on this one. They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40 years of coaching, this is the luckiest I've been."
June 15, 2017: The NCAA's committee on infractions announces a series of penalties for Louisville's participation in a sex-for-pay scandal: a 10-year show cause penalty for McGee, a suspension for Pitino for the first five ACC games of the 2017-18 season, a $5,000 fine and the vacation of multiple wins in which ineligible athletes competed -- and probably the 2013 national title banner. After the announcement, Pitino says he has "lost faith" in the NCAA and says the school is appealing the committee's ruling.
"This ruling is also unfair to Coach Pitino, who we believe could not have known about the illicit activities," acting Louisville president Greg Postel says.
July 28, 2017: Sypher is freed after serving nearly seven years in prison for the extortion plot after her affair with Pitino, per reports.
Tuesday: The FBI alleges an unnamed Louisville staffer worked with high-ranking Adidas representative Jim Gatto and others to lure an elite prospect to Louisville with a $100,000 bribe. Per the FBI's documentation, the player committed to the Cardinals in early June, "or almost immediately after the illicit bribe scheme."
The corruption scandal, which led to the arrests of four Division I basketball assistants, adds another blemish to Pitino's legacy and the Louisville program.
"[Louisville] is committed to ethical behavior and adherence to NCAA rules," Postel, Louisville's interim president, says in a statement. "Any violations will not be tolerated."
Pitino later releases a statement through his attorney, Steve Pence.
"These allegations come as a complete shock to me," Pitino says. "If true, I agree with the U.S. Attorney's Office that these third-party schemes, initiated by a few bad actors, operated to commit a fraud on the impacted universities and their basketball programs, including the University of Louisville. Our fans and supporters deserve better and I am committed to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure those responsible are held accountable."
Wednesday: Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich were placed on unpaid leave.