Kentucky Wesleyan v Louisville

Rick Pitino to UNLV?

Since firing their basketball coach last week, UNLV is looking for a new man to bring the Runnin’ Rebels back to relevance in the college basketball landscape and the rumors out there, according to the Las Vegas Journal Review, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino has reportedly expressed interest in the opening.

Doesn’t that seem like a good fit, at least on the surface? Rick Pitino and Las Vegas basketball. That’s a Scorsese film if we ever saw one.

The source with connections to Pitino insists Pitino has interest, 15 years after his brief flirtation with Las Vegas before he took the Louisville post. In the Derby City, Pitino has shined on the court while leading the Cardinals to three Final Four appearances and that national title in 2013 (to pair with his national championship while at Kentucky in 1996).

Fans cheer before the start of the UNLV basketball game against Northern Arizona at the Thomas & Mack in Las Vegas Monday, Nov. 12, 2012. (John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Photo Courtesy: John Locher/Las Vegas Review-Journal

Off the court, Pitino and the basketball program are still trying to wash off the filth from the escort sex scandal that came to light last year. Maybe a new chapter for the coach currently with 734 career wins is in the Vegas cards. The days of Jerry Tarkanian and the glory years of Larry Johnson, Stacy Augmon from the early 90s are long gone. Pitino could step in to a program with basketball bloodlines and bright lights and become the next legend of Sin City.

In June, he inked a 10-year extension with the school that runs through the 2025-26 season. His extension is reportedly worth upwards of $5 million annually and UNLV may be willing to open up the checkbook, per the report.

To be continued…