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Rick Pitino And Wife Joanne Minardi Married In 1976

January 30, 2012 by staff 

Rick Pitino And Wife Joanne Minardi Married In 1976, Rick Pitino (born September 18, 1952) is an American basketball coach. Since 2001, he has been the head coach at the University of Louisville. He has also served as head coach at Boston University, Providence College and the University of Kentucky, leading that program to the NCAA championship in 1996. He has coached on the professional level for the NBA’s New York Knicks and Boston Celtics with mixed results.

Pitino holds the distinction of being the only coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville) to a Final Four. In addition, Pitino has achieved a measure of success as an author and a motivational speaker.

Pitino, a Sicilian American and native of New York City, grew up in the Village of Bayville and was captain of the St. Dominic High School basketball team in nearby Oyster Bay, Long Island. He enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1970. He was a standout guard for the Minutemen basketball team. His 329 career assists rank tenth all-time at UMass, as of the 2009-10 season. He led the team in assists as a junior and senior. The 168 assists as a senior is the eighth-best single season total ever there. Pitino was a freshman at the same time future NBA legend Julius Erving spent his junior (and final) year at UMass, although the two never played on the same team because freshmen were ineligible to play varsity basketball at the time. Other teammates of Pitino’s incude Al Skinner, who also went on to become a successful college coach, and baseballer Mike Flanagan, who went on to pitch in the major leagues and win the AL Cy Young Award in 1979. Pitino earned his degree from UMass in 1974.

Pitino is currently head coach of the University of Louisville. Previous college coaching assignments include Boston University, Providence College, and the University of Kentucky. As a collegiate head coach, Pitino has compiled a 521-191 record, for a .732 winning percentage that is ranked 10th among active coaches and 29th all-time among all collegiate basketball coaches entering the 2009 season.

Pitino is considered by many to be one of the first coaches to promote fully taking advantage of the 3-point shot, first adopted by the NCAA in 1987. By exploiting the 3-point shot, his teams at Kentucky in the early 1990s were known as Pitino’s Bombinos, as a significant portion of the offensive points came from the 3-point shot. Even now, Pitino’s teams are known for the 3-point threat and all of his teams rank towards the top in 3-point attempts per season.

Many of Pitino’s players and assistant coaches have gone on to become successful collegiate coaches. In total, 21 former Pitino players and coaches have become Division I head coaches, including Florida’s Billy Donovan, Minnesota’s Tubby Smith, Arizona State’s Herb Sendek, and Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin.

Pitino married his wife, the former Joanne Minardi, in 1976. They have five living children: Michael, Christopher, Richard (an assistant coach at Louisville), Ryan and Jacqueline. Another son, Daniel, died in 1987 from congenital heart failure at the age of six months. Rick and Joanne established the Daniel Pitino Foundation (along with a Daniel Pitino shelter in Owensboro, Kentucky) in his memory, which has raised millions of dollars for children in need.

Their son’s death was not the last tragedy for Rick and Joanne. Both were especially hard-hit by 9/11, as Joanne’s brother and Rick’s closest friend, Billy Minardi, was working as a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck by American Airlines Flight 11. Since 2002, the University of Louisville has designated a December home game as the Billy Minardi Classic, and the university named a dorm on campus as “Billy Minardi Hall.” Only a few months earlier, another brother-in-law of Rick, Don Vogt, was killed after being hit by a New York City cab.

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