Coaches Under Pressure

UofL Coach Rick Pitino ripped into Gorgui Dieng after a play. Photo by GARRY JONES

UofL Coach Rick Pitino ripped into Gorgui Dieng after a play. Photo by GARRY JONES

This is the easiest question you will ever be asked (if you are a college basketball fan):

“Did you see what Bozich  said about Pitino?”

Social networking is not my cup of tea, but a lot of people have told me that Pitino vs. Bozich was the topic of the day there.

I read Rick Bozich’s column in The Courier-Journal about 4 a.m. (just a few hours after the Cardinals’ heart-breaker of a loss to Syracuse).

I thought Rick’s column was right on. He knows basketball. All he did was list the things that went wrong for the Cardinals in the 52-51 loss to Syracuse, the No. 2 team in all of America. The game absolutely should have been won by Pitino’s Cardinals.

It has been a rough year for Pitino. This isn’t his first dust up this season with a media member. Earlier he dressed down Chip Cosby (the former Lexington Herald-Leader writer who now has his own TV sports show on Insight). That didn’t last long. Both apologized.

This has been a challenging year for Pitino, whose first college coaching job was when Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim hired him for his Syracuse staff.

No wonder Pitino was upset. The Cardinals all but gave the game away. All Bozich did was list their mistakes. And Pitino’s mistakes also.

This season has given Pitino a chance to show his coaching brilliance. A slow start for UofL while that team up the road in Lexington was beating him and then becoming the nation’s No. 1 team.

Just after Kentucky was winning at Vanderbilt and adding to John Calipari’s résumé came UofL’s chance to beat Syracuse and get the national spotlight turned on Pitino and his Cardinals.

And right there all of that was for the taking only to see things go horribly wrong.

And then Bozich undressed him for all to see. But it was all true.

Pitino is a big boy. He has bounced back from worse situations than a loss to an excellent Syracuse team.

College youngsters are under intense pressure. Just ask yourself this: How would you perform if your every  act was being observed by anyone in America who can turn on TV?

At this time of year all coaches should take a step back, exhale and then realize one more time that it’s just a game.