Rhode Island shoots down report saying it pursued Rick Pitino

Former Louisville coach Rick Pitino (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Rhode Island strongly denied a report that indicated it had a “rough agreement” in place to hire Rick Pitino as the successor to Dan Hurley.

GoLocalProv.com reported Monday that URI athletic director Thorr Bjorn “had come to a rough agreement in principle” with Pitino, the ousted Louisville head coach, “late last week.” The report indicated that the deal would have paid Pitino $2 million per year. However, the report said URI president David Dooley “shot down” the potential agreement due to Pitino’s purported involvement in the FBI investigation into college basketball and “other controversies.”

Later Monday, Rhode Island offered this statement:

“On Monday, April 2, 2018, GoLocalProv posted a story claiming, ‘President Dooley kills hiring of Pitino at URI.’ This story is false. University President David M. Dooley and Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn have not spoken with Rick Pitino. Athletic Director Bjorn never presented an offer to President Dooley related to Rick Pitino.”

URI even requested the outlet remove the story from its website.

“The University takes journalistic integrity very seriously and denies the validity of this story in its entirety,” the statement said. “The University has requested the story be removed from the GoLocalProv website.”

Rhode Island is in the midst of a coaching search after Hurley left the Rams for Connecticut. Pitino would certainly be a controversial choice.

The 65-year-old Pitino was ousted from his head-coaching job at Louisville in September after he was engulfed in the FBI investigation into the world of college basketball recruiting. That came on the heels of a vacated national title stemming from NCAA sanctions that arrived via a previous scandal.

Even with all of that baggage, Pitino, who has maintained his innocence, says he still wants to coach. It doesn’t look like it will be at Rhode Island.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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