CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- After his team's final game of the season Saturday night, Rick Pitino did not offer a definitive statement about his future, but the Louisville coach said support from the university's board of trustees chairman has him headed into the offseason feeling better about his relationship with the school.
"It made me feel a lot better, 80 percent better," Pitino told ESPN.com after the No. 11 Cardinals lost to No. 4 Virginia 68-46. "He said he not only wants me to be the coach, but he wants me to be the coach for a long time. Those words make you feel good."
On Friday, board chairman Larry Benz issued a statement offering both his support for Pitino and his belief that the coach was not aware of the sex parties alleged to have been held at a team dormitory from 2010 to 2014. Because of the allegations, initially made in a book by a former escort, Louisville decided to self-impose a postseason ban, leading to speculation about Pitino's job security and his intent to return to coaching.
After the loss to Virginia, Pitino joked that he would talk to Steve Kerr about taking over as the Golden State Warriors coach for a year -- "I'm sold on Steph [Curry]," he said -- but later offered a more serious assessment of the past year's turmoil.
Pitino told ESPN.com that, after the allegations were made, he met immediately with athletic director Tom Jurich. He said he gave Jurich something and, though he wouldn't say exactly what, intimated it was the result of a lie detector test.
"He told me, 'Throw that away. You don't have to do that for me. I've known you for 15 years, and I know what you're all about,'" Pitino said. "He told me, 'We're going to get through this.' But outside of fellow coaches, ex-players and Tom Jurich, sometimes you feel like you're on an island."
Pitino went on to say he was especially stung when, earlier this week, school trustee Emily Bingham brought up Pitino's personal scandal involving Karen Sypher. In a letter to the Courier-Journal regarding a no-confidence vote for university president James Ramsey -- who is embroiled in a controversy unrelated to the athletic department -- Bingham cited a "basketball program already embarrassed by the sexual misconduct of its coach."
"I can take it from anybody, but when your own people do it, it's tough," Pitino said.
The Courier Journal reported that Bingham has apologized to Pitino for her comments.
With Louisville ineligible, Pitino said he doesn't intend to watch the NCAA tournament and instead will take time off to reassess his own situation, just as he does every year.
"I intend to come back every year," he said. "But I'll take the time and ask myself, 'Did I have fun? Can I do it again? How's my health?' Questions all coaches my age should ask themselves at the end of the year. Personally, I'd love to coach until I'm 83."