Pitino coached at Louisville from 2001-2017 where he won a national championship in 2013 and went to three Final Fours before being fired in October 2017 amid a pay-for-play scandal connected to the FBI's probe into college recruiting. In the 30-plus months since that bombshell story broke, Pitino remains the only head coach who lost his job due to the government's sting.
Since his ouster, Pitino, 67, has been coaching in Greece for Panathinaikos -- and with success. It won the Greek Cup and Greek League last year. He left the team briefly to deal with a family matter but was rehired in November. The Euroleague halted play earlier this week due to concerns and precautions regarding the coronavirus pandemic. That enabled Pitino to return to the United States and accelerate his chances at being hired.
"He hated coaching pros, complained about it every day," a source told CBS Sports.
The source added: "He was trying to enforce his dominant ego" while coaching in Greece and that Pitino was ambitiously hoping to return to college in a final attempt to repair some of his reputation.
"I am delighted to welcome Rick Pitino to Gael Nation," said Director of Athletics Matthew Glovaski. "Rick is a Hall of Fame coach who has won at the highest levels and he is committed to leading our student-athletes and our program to national prominence. He brings passion and energy and shares our desire to build a winning program that will make our community proud."