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Jack Leaman's Legacy Can Be Felt Tonight In Indianapolis

Around 9:45 pm Eastern Time tonight, Kentucky and Louisville will meet in an NCAA Tournament Round of 16 game in Indianapolis. Two coaches with deep UMass ties in John Calipari and Rick Pitino will direct their respective teams in their own, unique ways. And there will be subtle nuances they gained during their time in Amherst with the Minutemen's all-time winningest men's basketball coach Jack Leaman.

Here are a few stories that have been written on the duo's associations with Jack, who compiled 217 victories from 1966-79 and spent a total of 37 years associated with the University.


On enshrinement weekend, Rick Pitino recalls time spent at UMass

With former Massachusetts basketball player Rick Pitino ('74) being enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this past weekend, here is an article from Mike Moran of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. He played for legendary UMass head coach Jack Leaman before going into a coaching career himself. He credits Leaman, a Boston University alum, for allowing him to get his first head coaching post at BU.

Pitino joins Julius Erving as UMass players in the Hall of Fame. Erving is one of only six players in NCAA history to average 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. He was inducted in 1993.

A portion of the article is below...
Prior to Saturday's event, Pitino reconnected with Leaman's wife, Rita, and daughter, Laurie, for the first time in a long time.

"It meant an awful lot to me," Pitino said of the meeting. "Jack was a tough, hard-nosed coach and it was interesting because I wouldn't be here today, probably, if he didn't make a phone call. He's the reason I got the Boston University job. He was a great player at BU, he recommended me, they took his advice and I was hired when I probably shouldn't have been hired."

Pitino was 24 when he took the job in Boston. He had spent a few seasons in Hawaii then one in Syracuse under Jim Boeheim.


Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican wrote a piece on Rick Pitino, UMass Class of 1974, and his induction this weekend into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

In the early 1970s, Rick Pitino was a flashy guard for the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team.

Four decades later, he will be enshrined as a basketball immortal, just down the highway from his alma mater.

The coach of Louisville's reigning NCAA champions will join 11 other members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013 at Sunday's induction ceremony.

Enshrinement at Springfield Symphony Hall will take place at 2 p.m. The weekend's events begin Friday night with an induction celebration and ring ceremony at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

An auction, autograph session, press conference and a dinner for past and 2013 Hall of Famers will make up a full day of Saturday events at the Hall of Fame. Sunday's schedule will begin with a VIP reception and champagne brunch at the MassMutual Center, followed by Enshrinement at Symphony Hall and a post-ceremony gala at the Hall of Fame.

Pitino, 60, will be one of four coaches enshrined. He joins Guy Lewis, Jerry Tarkanian and Sylvia Hatchell.

Rick Pitino prepares for Hall of Fame induction

Former UMass basketball player Rick Pitino ('74) will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, becoming the second Minutemen student-athlete to earn the honor.

He is also being careful not to say the wrong thing or look the wrong way as he prepares his various speeches.

AP: Pitino To Step Down Following 2017 Season

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The Associated Press reported yesterday that UMass alum Rick Pitino will not return to Louisville when his contract runs out following the 2016-17 season.

UMass Connections To 2011 NCAA Tournament Field

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Here's a look at UMass' connections to the 2011 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket. 12 UMass opponents this season will be playing in postseason of some kind.

• Kentucky (#4 East): Coached by former UMass head coach John Calipari and assisted by former UMass assistant coach John Robic.

• Louisville (#4 Southwest): Coached by UMass 1974 alum Rick Pitino, among the all-time assist leaders in school history.

• Xavier (#6 East): Atlantic 10 rival, beat UMass in Cincinnati back on Jan. 12.

• Temple (#7 West): Long-time rival of UMass in the Atlantic 10, narrowly escaped the Minutemen with an overtime win on March 2.

• Memphis (#12 West): Former school of UMass current head coach Derek Kellogg and 
former school of senior center Hashim "Big City" Bailey.

• Richmond (#12 Southwest): Atlantic 10's 2011 Champion, beat UMass in Amherst on Jan. 22.

• Bucknell (#13 West): Head coach Dave Paulsen, who came to the Bison from Williams College, also graduated from Williams in '87, where he went to school with '86 grad Kevin Morris, coach of UMass football.

• Boston University (#16 Southwest): Lost to UMass, 71-54, on Dec. 31 at the Mullins Center. 


In the 2011 NIT Bracket, here are the connections to UMass.

• #1 seed Boston College, hosts McNeese State. The Eagles beat UMass at the TD Garden back on Dec. 4 and are the longtime in-state foe of the Minutemen.

• #3 seed Oklahoma State is coached by former UMass coach Travis Ford and will take on Bay State opponent Harvard in the first round. Ford led UMass to the NIT Finals in 2008 before leaving to lead the Cowboys.

• #3 seed Dayton, the defending NIT Champions, knocked UMass out of the 2011 A-10 Tournament with a 78-50 win in Amherst last Tuesday. 

In the 2011 CBI, several UMass opponents from 2010-11 will be in action.

• UCF hosts St. Bonaventure in a game between two UMass foes from this season.

• Rhode Island welcomes Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday. UMass beat the Rams twice in 2011.

• Duquesne will play at Montana for a third Atlantic 10 connection.

• Finally, good luck to former "Voice of the Minutemen" Bob Behler and his Boise State Broncos, as they host Austin Peay in the CBI.

The last of the four postseason tournaments is the College Insider Tournament. Two UMass opponents play in this event.


• Quinnipiac plays the first postseason game of 2011, hosting Buffalo on Monday night.

• Rider travels to Northern Iowa on Tuesday.

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