July 18, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A BIG EAST regular season men's basketball championship for the University of Louisville and Coach Rick Pitino in 2012-13? Check.
A BIG EAST tournament championship? Check.
An NCAA Championship? Check.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for Pitino? Check.
And now, Pitino has added another accolade this year as he received an ESPY for the Best Coach/Manager of the Year at Wednesday's ceremony in Los Angeles.
The award, in which fans voted online, was announced during ESPN's pre-event, red carpet show. Pitino was not present at the event because he was evaluating prospective student-athletes during this key July evaluation period. Three members of the men's basketball team -- Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Wayne Blackshear -- attended the ceremony.
Pitino had been on the ballot for the award with Bruce Arians, who was the Indianapolis Colts' interim coach; Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma; Duke lacrosse coach John Danowski; and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Under Pitino's guidance, Louisville won its third NCAA Championship and first in 27 years this season. The Cardinals secured the final BIG EAST regular-season and conference titles, and ultimately earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. After beating Duke in the Elite Eight game to tie the school record for wins at 33, Louisville posted victories over Wichita State and then Michigan in the national title game to finish the season with a program-best 35 victories.
In the midst of the Cardinals' impressive run during the NCAA Tournament, Pitino was named one of 12 members for the 2013 class to be inducted into the prestigious Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In addition to Louisville's success on the court, Pitino directed his team to an all-time high in the classroom. The Cardinals produced a collective 3.295 grade-point average for the 2012-13 academic year, with a record 3.41 combined GPA for the fall semester, the highest in program history. A total of 15 Cardinals earned a 3.0 or better for the fall semester.