December 29, 2001: Pitino gets mixed welcome in return to Rupp

Rick Pitino - photo by Ed Reinke | AP
Rick Pitino - photo by Ed Reinke | AP

From the “Kentucky Basketball:  The Season never Ends Calendar” – Gettysburg.  D-Day. The Battle of the Bulge.  Rick Pitino’s return to Rupp Arena… as Louisville’s head coach.  The rebuilding Cards came in unranked and the crowd smelled blood.  won the closer than expected game 82-62.  With dozens of homemade signs poking fun at “Traitor Rick,” Kentucky pulled away with a second half 16-2 run.  had 8 points in the flurry.  provided an emotional lift with a nasty move that faked Erik Brown out of his shoes, sending the Rupp crowd of 24,330 soaring in full throat.  By the end of the game, the crowd chanted “Tubby! Tubby! Tubby!” to let former coach know what switching allegiances to had cost him.