After getting fired by the University of Louisville in October, Rick Pitino has filed a lawsuit in federal court accusing the University of breach of contract. Pitino is asking for damages of over $35 million, which he says is the full remaining unpaid amount on his contract that ran until 2026.
The athletics board voted unanimously to terminate Pitino, citing multiple reasons: An FBI complaint alleging a conspiracy to bribe recruits to play at Adidas-affiliated universities; Louisville’s escort-recruiting scandal; and the fact that Pitino did not inform the university when now-arrested agent Christian Dawkins was on campus in May.
Pitino’s lawsuit denies that the former head coach had any knowledge or involvement in the conspiracy, despite a federal indictment suggesting that Pitino had asked Adidas to give money to the family of Louisville recruit Brian Bowen. In addition to claiming ignorance on the bribery, Pitino’s suit notes that the escort penalties are still being appealed, and anyway happened under an old contract. Pitino’s suit also says he thought Dawkins was only an AAU associate and not an “agent” under the NCAA’s definition.
One interesting detail, noted by a tipster, is that the lawsuit identifies Pitino as a “citizen of Florida,” despite Pitino having clearly spent at least a majority of his time in Kentucky as coach of Louisville since 2001. This allowed Pitino to file the suit in federal court, rather than in a Kentucky court.
Pitino also filed a federal suit against Adidas for intentional infliction of emotional distress one day after he was fired.
The full lawsuit against Louisville is embedded below.