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Finished: Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino says he’s “finished coaching,” reports ABC News, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and Bleacher Report.

He talked to ESPN’s “Get Up” this week, promoting his new book, “Pitino: My Story.”

Mr. Pitino tells ESPN’s Mike Greenberg:

I’m finished coaching. This book was closure for a career. I’m defending myself now.

Longer clip below:

Mr. Pitino was fired following two scandals: an FBI investigation that cited recruiting schemes and violations with player payouts and a tell-all book in 2015 asserting that University of Louisville assistants used strippers for parties to entice potential recruits.

He maintains his innocence and says he wrote the book for closure:

No, I wrote this book for closure for me and my family to the game. I love the game. I still eat, sleep and drink it. I watch every minute of it. I watch your show. I can’t get enough of it. But I’m not going to coach again. It’s been too painful the last three years — the pain of a lifetime.

I’ll look back at the memories that are in that book and say, ‘You know what, I’ve had a blessed life.’

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports asks: “Rick Pitino continues to insist he’s innocent in his new book, but is he changing anybody’s mind?”

His answer? Not really.

People seem to like to pick a side on most everything these days and don’t often switch sides, so if you’ve already made your mind up on Mr. Pitino’s legacy, 280 pages of the tale in his own words is unlikely to move you. And unless something bigger breaks open in the investigation, it’s going to stay a he said/they said thing. Which is tough to overcome.

Regardless of innocence of the actual offenses, we do know wrongdoing happened and we do know wrongdoing happened by assistants under his employ, which he acknowledged on ESPN:

The fact that I’m not coaching, the love of my life outside of my family, the fact that I lost basketball — eat, sleep and drink from 5:30 in the morning until late at night, I eat, drink and sleep the game — that’s my penalty. The buck did stop with me. I’m out of work.

But there is another theory Mr. Pitino has regarding his firing:

I think the governor is behind me being fired at Louisville. I have many people close to him that say he was after the AD and then wanted you. I can see why people would fire me. I mean, two scandals in a four year span … None of it I’m linked to. But I can see it.

Governor Matt Bevin clapped back, says Sports Illustrated. While appearing on 840 WHAS radio this week, Mr. Bevin said:

It’s pretty sad, it really is. He was a great coach and his life is devolving into this. It’s sad.

Now he just sounds like a desperate, angry, bitter person who wants to lay blame everywhere but at his own feet, which is where, frankly, so much of it belongs.

When reached for comment on the book by ABC, the University of Louisville spokesman John Karman said:

Because the university currently is in litigation with Mr. Pitino, we cannot comment on statements made in his book. I can say that we are focused on moving forward with new university and athletic department leadership. We also are extremely excited about the future of our men’s basketball program under Coach Chris Mack. He has assembled an outstanding team, and we look forward to its success on the court in the coming season.

 

Papa Can You Hear Me?: Week nine of the big Papa John’s story and more shake-ups out of the chain.

A Papa John’s executive retired, effective immediately, says CNN Money and USA Today. You can check Insider’s coverage here.

Timothy O’Hern became president of the company’s international division earlier this year and served as Papa John International’s chief development officer. He’s also a franchisee with nine stores.

We thank Tim for his many contributions to the Company and are pleased that he will remain a franchisee and a member of the Papa John’s family. We have strong, experienced international and development teams and expect a smooth transition.

According to CNN, a company spokesperson cited “personal reasons” for his departure. One of them, I’d imagine, might be reading the news for the last two months. If I had a clear view of the iceberg up ahead, I’d probably hop on the first lifeboat, too.

The spokesperson also said Mr. O’Hern’s departure is unrelated to an investigation into the company culture at Papa John’s, as described in this article from Forbes when the whole thing broke back in early July.

Forbes

Speaking of — and I completely missed this the first time we talked about this — but where did Forbes find the surly, angry John Schnatter photo? What was this shoot? It’s like the American Gothic of pizza. Did they say, “John, we’ve seen the excitable pitchman — show me the inner turmoil of pizza,” or, “Hey John, I know we’re doing some PR shots here, but what if we take a few in case something awful happens down the road.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports Mr. Schnatter believes Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie plotted to remove Mr. Schnatter in order to keep his job. That’s according to a lawsuit unsealed Thursday, originally filed in Delaware Chancery Court under seal on Aug. 31.

Mr. Schnatter says he sent a letter to the board with a list of executives who needed to be let go for poor performance, including Mr. Ritchie.

He asserts Mr. Ritchie subsequently led efforts to oust his former mentor for “the sad and simple reason that Mr. Ritchie learned that he was going to lose his job. Mr. Ritchie placed his own self-interest and desire to salvage his own employment over the best interests of the company.”

Mr. Schnatter also cites the “bro culture” as a reason for Ritchie’s dismissal — the same culture detailed in the Forbes article above. Only thing is the Forbes article says Mr. Schnatter was a part of that, too.

Papa John’s refutes the accusations in a statement:

John Schnatter’s latest allegations are entirely without merit, and we will vigorously defend against these baseless claims.

Meanwhile, Part 2: With Papa John’s out of the way, USA Today says YUM’s Pizza Hut is ready to capitalize as the new official pizza of the NFL.

Here’s the first ad, featuring Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown:

The season officially kicked off last night with the Eagles of Philadelphia grounding the Falcons of Atlanta, 18-12. The victory saw the return of the Philadelphia Special.

 

 

Got You Covered: Jennifer Lawrence will grace the October cover of Marie Claire, which hit shelves this week.

The magazine has a couple of teases up for the issue right now. One of them is “Jennifer Lawrence On The Single Decision That Changed Her Life.”

When I first started (in Hollywood), I’d shy away from uncomfortable conversations so I’d just be agreeable. But then I realised: What’s the point of saying something if I don’t say exactly what I mean? I made the decision to tell the truth, even when it’s difficult, and it changed my life — in work, relationships and friendships. Now, everyone knows exactly how I feel and I’m always myself.

Which is great, but I tried that out a little this week and the couch isn’t nearly as comfortable by the third night and it’s harder to get things done at work if no one’s talking to you anymore. So complete and total honesty’s a good practice, no doubt, but the crick in my neck says discretion still has its upside.

The other tease is “Jennifer Lawrence Tells: ‘The Women Who Made Me.’ She names Emma Stone, Jodie Foster and Cameron Diaz.

Which instantly made me think: Where’d Cameron Diaz go? It’s like a twisted form of object permanence, only the celebrity edition: If they’re out of the public eye, they somehow cease to exist.

She’s been out of the spotlight long enough that one of the first options Google gave me in my search was “When did Cameron Diaz die?” Which, if that’s you, I’m happy to be able to tell you she’s not dead, just retired. She said that publicly back in March, with her last film being 2014’s “Annie” with Jamie Foxx.

You may recall a couple of weeks ago, Ms. Lawrence interviewed Emma Stone for Elle magazine. Here’s what she says about her to Marie Claire:

She’s my best friend; the love of my life. We’re exact opposites, so we help each other. We laugh our heads off together, but there are certain things we’d handle completely differently. If we put our heads together, we can form the perfect solution.

See you next week.

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Kyle Ware
Kyle Ware is a Louisville-based actor, artist, educator and writer. His column, In Other News, appears at Insider Louisville every Friday.