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Archive for Friday, May 4, 2007

Pitino signs extension

Louisville coach locked in through 2013

May 4, 2007

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— Rick Pitino signed a three-year contract extension with the Louisville Cardinals on Thursday that could keep him at the school through 2013, long enough for a highly anticipated downtown arena to open.

"I'm a very lucky, I was going to say young man, but I'm a very lucky old man," the 54-year-old Pitino said with a laugh.

The new deal increases Pitino's annual salary from $1.65 million to $2.25 million beginning next season, and will pay him $2.5 million a year if he stays until the end of the contract. The contract also boosted a loyalty bonus due Pitino on July 1 from $1 million to $1.75 million. He'll receive loyalty bonuses of $3.6 million in 2010 and 2013 if he remains with the school.

"He's worth every penny of it, probably double it," Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said.

Pitino is 142-58 in six seasons at Louisville and led the Cardinals to the 2005 Final Four. Louisville went 24-10 last year, losing to Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He is 494-182 in 21 seasons overall and won a national championship at Kentucky in 1996.

The deal comes a month after the Wildcats signed Billy Gillispie to a seven-year contract that will pay him $2.3 million a season.

Pitino said he wasn't thinking about retirement yet but plans to finish his career with the Cardinals.

"You can never say never, but as long as Tom Jurich is here as the athletic director, I will always be here," Pitino said. "This is where I want to live. This is where I want to coach."

Pitino has been part of a drive by the school to update its athletic facilities to compete in the Big East. Louisville is opening up a sparkling new practice gym in the fall, and a 20,000-seat downtown arena is scheduled to open its doors in 2010.

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