Rick Pitino not elected to Hall

Updated: March 30, 2012, 10:01 PM ET
By Ian O'Connor | ESPNNewYork.com

Pitino
Pitino

Louisville coach Rick Pitino might win his second national championship on Monday, but he will not be inducted that day into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

One of 12 finalists, Pitino has been informed he did not make the cut.

"He was very disappointed," a source told ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday. "He thought his chances were good."

Pitino confirmed ESPNNewYork.com's report in an interview with the New York Post on Friday.

"I'm not bitter at all, I'm not upset at all," Pitino told The Post. "I appreciate them nominating me. ... I'm just focusing on these games ... when I got the phone call, everybody was all excited 'cause they wanted to get the news. ... The worst part about it was telling your wife and children you didn't make it."

The Louisville coach was among the headliners from a class of nominees that includes Reggie Miller and Don Nelson. The inductees will be announced at the Final Four in New Orleans, and Nelson already has confirmed he will be among them.

When Pitino faces the program he led to the 1996 national title, the Kentucky Wildcats, it will mark his sixth trip to the national semifinals.

Pitino, who made his first trip with Providence 25 years ago, is the only coach to lead three schools to official Final Four appearances. His opposing coach on Saturday night, John Calipari, had his appearances with Massachusetts and Memphis vacated as part of NCAA sanctions.

In 1989, Pitino led the New York Knicks to a division title and a first-round playoff victory over Philadelphia only two years after taking over a 24-win team. He was in the middle of his fourth consecutive losing season with the Boston Celtics when he walked away from the NBA in 2001.

Ian O'Connor

ESPNNewYork.com columnist
Ian O'Connor has won numerous national awards as a sports columnist and is the author of three books, including the bestseller, "The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter." ESPN Radio broadcasts "The Ian O'Connor Show" every Sunday from 7 to 9 a.m. ET. Follow Ian on Twitter »

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