Tuesday , Jan , 27 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Pitino back for the weekend?

Louisville, KY (Sports Network) – Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick
Pitino may be back with his team this weekend, just one day after announcing
his departure for a medical leave of absence.

“I hope to be back coaching by this weekend and resuming full responsibility
with our team,” said the 51-year-old Pitino. “It is not a cancer-related or
life-threatening matter.”

He arrived at the Cleveland Clinic Tuesday to undergo a battery of tests.
Pitino will miss Wednesday’s home game against Houston but is hopeful of a
Saturday return to Freedom Hall, where the fourth-ranked Cardinals will host

Citing a “urological-related” problem that was causing him pain for the past
few months, Pitino announced Monday that he was leaving the team for an
indefinite period of time to get treatment for the ailment.

Louisville (15-1) has won 15 straight after a season-opening loss to Iowa in
overtime. Assistant coach Kevin Willard, who last week pleaded guilty to
driving under the influence of alcohol, will guide the team in Pitino’s

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.