Rick Pitino settles with Louisville, won’t receive money in wrongful termination lawsuit

Rick Pitino will not receive any money in the settlement with Louisville, though the university officially changed his dismissal from a "firing" to a "resignation." (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Two years later, Rick Pitino’s legal battle with Louisville is finally over.

Pitino and Louisville announced on Wednesday that the two sides have reached a settlement in Pitino’s $40 million breach of contract lawsuit he filed after he was fired in 2017.

Pitino will not receive any money in the settlement, and Louisville will officially change his departure from a firing to a resignation.

“For 17 years, Coach Pitino ran a program that combined excellence on the court with a commitment to the program's student athletes, their academic achievement, and their futures in and out of basketball,” Louisville and Pitino said in a joint statement. “Nevertheless, there were NCAA infractions during his term which led to serious consequences for the University. Although these infractions may not have occurred at Coach Pitino's direction or with his knowledge, the problems leading to the NCAA infractions happened under his leadership.

“We thank Coach Pitino for his years of service to the University of Louisville basketball program and wish him well. Coach Pitino and the University of Louisville have mutually agreed to dismiss their legal claims against each other, designate his departure as a resignation, and move forward.”

Pitino, 67, was fired from Louisville in the wake of a massive FBI investigation revealed his involvement in a pay-for-play scheme. Louisville has vacated its 2013 national championship, its 2012 Final Four appearance and 123 wins as a result of the scandal.

Pitino has long proclaimed his innocence, and was never actually indicted. He filed a lawsuit against the university shortly after his firing, arguing that Louisville didn’t have just cause for his dismissal. Louisville also filed a countersuit against him.

Pitino, who also coached the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics, spent one season as head coach of Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague in Greece — where he led them to a championship. He has long expressed his desire to return to coaching in the United States, and said that Wednesday’s decision marks a “new chapter” in his life.

"Against my lawyer’s advice I’m dropping my lawsuit with ULAA,” Pitino said, via the Louisville Courier Journal. “I am very proud of the many accomplishments my teams achieved at Louisville. I’m so thankful and honored to coach such dedicated athletes.

"I’m also disappointed in how it ended. But as head coach I am held responsible for the actions of all team members. I still have so much passion for the game and so many goals I want to achieve. From this day forward I start my climb.”

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