If you’re expecting Rick Pitino to walk through that door in Athens, Paul Finebaum has some bad news for you. It’s probably not going to happen.
And, really, we all probably knew that was the case, even though ESPN’s Jay Williams stirred the pot on the Pitino-to-Georgia rumor mill over the weekend.
Finebaum made his stance on the rumor clear during an interview with The RoundTable on WJOX-FM in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday morning.
“The Rick Pitino conversation, I think, is a nonstarter,” Finebaum told the morning radio crew. “I would be dumbfounded if that happened.”
But never fear, Georgia fans. Finebaum thinks your job is a catch for another solid coach with less of a behavioral concern.
“I think it’s really good,” Finebaum said of the Georgia job. “Primarily because of location. There’s just no reason why Georgia can’t mine the state of Georgia, which Mark Fox has not done on a consistent basis. And, again, I will tell you, it’s not going to be Rick Pitino. I think that would just be a travesty. And knowing [Georgia athletics director] Greg McGarity and the type of program that he administers in Athens, Rick Pitino would be a laughingstock hire. I don’t even think it’s possible. I don’t know what Jay Williams knows, but I’m telling you right now it won’t be Rick Pitino.”
DawgNation’s Seth Emerson shares Finebaum’s opinion about the Pitino-to-Georgia chatter, confirming that he has heard no such talk during his coverage of the Bulldogs’ coaching change.
“There was always zero chance that Rick Pitino would be a candidate at Georgia,” Emerson wrote on Twitter after Finebaum gave his interview. “He’s still in legal and NCAA limbo. I’d be surprised if anyone touches him until those are cleared up.”
It is interesting to see Williams and Finebaum, who each work for ESPN, holding such vastly different opinions on the former Louisville coach. It appears most of the national college basketball media falls closer to Finebaum’s side of this debate than Williams’ take on Pitino.
Former Ohio State coach Thad Matta and former Indiana coach Tom Crean are two high-profile coaches who make sense for Georgia and might have serious interest in being the next Bulldogs basketball coach.
You can listen to Finebaum’s entire interview with WJOX-FM here: