MIAMI – Richard Pitino made his peace with the reality long ago. No matter what he does as a coach, he knows comparisons to his father will always be made.
Florida International’s coach doesn’t mind. “I, more than anything, embrace it,” he said.
There will be someone else for him to embrace tonight – his aforementioned father. Richard Pitino gets to match wits with Rick Pitino in Louisville, Ky., when FIU (3-4) travels to meet the fifth- ranked Cardinals (9-1).
It shapes up as a mismatch. Louisville is a major national-title hopeful with a storied coach who has taken teams to six Final Fours and won 638 games. The Panthers were picked to finish last in their division of the Sun Belt Conference and have a coach with exactly three wins on his résumé.
“I don’t worry about it going away. I don’t want it to go away,” Richard Pitino said of the parallels drawn between him and his father. “I talk to him every day about basketball. Putting him being my father aside, I think he’s the greatest coach out there.”