Monday , Jan , 26 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pitino takes medical leave of absence

Louisville, KY (Sports Network) – Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick
Pitino has decided to take a medical leave of absence.

The 51-year-old Pitino would not elaborate on what the exact problem is, but
said that he has been in immense pain for several days and that the problem is
“urologically related.”

Pitino also added that doctors have ruled out prostate cancer and that he
would be seeking treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.

“I don’t want to short-change the team or the university,” said Pitino during
a Monday press conference. “I hope to be back soon and get ready to make a run
at the (NCAA) Tournament.”

The Cardinals (15-1) have won 15 straight after a season-opening loss to Iowa
in overtime and are currently ranked fourth in the Associated Press men’s
college basketball poll.

Assistant coach Kevin Willard, who last week pleaded guilty to driving under
the influence of alcohol, will guide the team in Pitino’s absence.

Pitino spent a night in a hospital last January after undergoing tests for an
undisclosed illness. Fortunately, the tests revealed nothing seriously wrong
and he quickly made it back to the sidelines.

This marks the 18th season as a college coach for Pitino. He has also guided
Boston University, Providence and Kentucky and has an all-time mark of
411-145. Pitino’s 1995-96 Kentucky squad captured the national championship.