Athletic director Tom Jurich was also fired Wednesday morning following a very brief meeting with interim president Gregory Postel.
And yet there he was Wednesday, like so many former Wildcats, grappling with the stark contrast between the young King of Camelot for whom they played in the 1990s and this aging, disgraced Pitino placed on unpaid leave - ahead of an almost-certain firing - at the University of Louisville amid a federal investigation and allegations of six-figure promises to recruits. Adidas and Louisville struck a contract extension with the apparel company worth $160 million over the summer. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.
Pitino not only restored Kentucky basketball, he added a chapter to the program's storybook lore. "Everything that's going on now is at U of L".
Federal prosecutors say at least three high school recruits were promised payments of up to $150,000 to commit to two universities sponsored by Adidas, with James Gatto, Adidas Basketball's head of global marketing, allegedly funneling the money to the recruits' families.
Those charges have prompted a lot of breathless speculation about how the gig may now be up in college sports - how the FBI's investigation will expose an underbelly that's been winked and shrugged at for decades.
Steve Pence, Pitino's attorney, told the Courier-Journal the coach has been placed on administrative leave but has been "effectively fired". The vaunted high school athlete was a top ten player in the country expected to graduate high school in 2019. Louisville appears to be "University-6" and Miami appears to be "University-7". And the advertisers. And the shoe companies. Even if schools had to give athletes stipends, there would continue to be an arms race.
On that day, the SEC announced it filed fraud charges against Pittsburgh, Penn. -based financial adviser Louis Martin Blazer III.
Pitino had reportedly informed his assistant coaches and basketball staff that he expected the firing to be forthcoming.
"It's a grinding process and I want my son to enjoy his senior season with out the pressure". Nor did an unprecedented scandal involving escorts entertaining Louisville players and recruits in dorm-room parties sporadically from 2010 to 2014.
U of L's basketball coach, Rick Pitino, released a statement Tuesday evening through his attorney.
"The allegations are serious", said Postel, who reiterated that the university would fully cooperate with law enforcement and NCAA officials investigating the matter.
"Just when you think things are returning to normal around here, all of a sudden, here comes another bombshell", Reed added.
So while the ACC ponders its festering Louisville problem - the conference recidivism champions since joining the league - the rest of college basketball will be pondering just where the FBI's hammer will fall next.
So how do we go about estimating Rick Pitino's net worth?