Rick Pitino recalls how close he came to becoming Michigan basketball's head coach
Rick Pitino is one of college basketball's most successful coaches.
He's the only men's coach in NCAA history to lead three different programs to a Final Four, he's won a national championship and he's scored more than 600 victories.
And, in the early 2000s, he nearly became head coach at the University of Michigan.
In an interview on SiriusXM's "Basketball and Beyond" radio show, Pitino, now in his 12th season at Louisville, discussed how he had actually signed an agreement to become Michigan's head coach in 2001 -- but eventually backed out and headed to Louisville instead.
“The day that I committed to Louisville, I signed an agreement to be the next head coach of Michigan and I was fired up to be the coach at Michigan," Pitino said. "The athletic director at the time, who’s no longer there (Bill Martin), was playing squash and my wife came up, she just didn’t want me to go to the west coast, UNLV, and be away from the children. She agreed, okay let’s go to Michigan."
Pitino -- a former Kentucky coach -- then explained that his wife called him out for being afraid to go back to the state of Kentucky to coach at Louisville, his old school's arch rival.
She eventually convinced him to change his mind, and due to one of Martin's squash matches, Pitino informed Michigan of his decision via voicemail.
"I tried to call the A.D. at Michigan between 12 and 1," he recalled. "I had a false name. I would give him a fake name and he would call me back. I couldn’t get a hold of him because he was playing squash. The secretary said he demands that he doesn’t get interrupted unless it’s an emergency and if you want you can leave a voicemail.
"I left a voicemail and went to Louisville and I’m really happy I did."
After Pitino left, Michigan opted to hire Tommy Amaker in his place. Amaker went 108-84 in six seasons at Michigan, never once making an NCAA Tournament.
He was replaced in 2007 by current Michigan coach John Beilein, who has guided the Wolverines to the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four seasons.