Saying he will coach at Louisville “as long as they’ll have me,” Rick Pitino apologized on Wednesday for “an indiscretion” he committed six years ago.
In a news conference at the university, Pitino did not directly address the report that he admitted that he had consensual sex with the woman charged with trying to extort him and then paid her $3,000. But he did say that “the past seven months have been very difficult on the people I love.”
The Courier-Journal of Louisville, citing police records, reported on Tuesday that Pitino made those admissions.
Pitino did not take questions.
He said that he did admit what he did to his family and to the university and that he tried to handle the problem the same way he advises players to handle adversity.
“When you have a problem, if you tell the truth the problem becomes part of your past,” he said. “If you lie it becomes part of your future.”
Pitino said that he had not commented on the charges against Karen Cunagin Sypher, including trying to extort $10 million from the coach and lying to the FBI.
“A grand jury indictment is a very serious thing and that’s why I haven’t commented on that,” he said.
At one point in the short, seemingly off the cuff, statement, Pitino said that he came to Louisville “at a very difficult time.” He spoke of 9-11 and the university’s need for healing.
“You needed a community to get over it,” he said and concluded that the university and his family has helped him get over this trouble.
As for his wife and five children, Pitino said: “I let them down with my indiscretion six years ago. And I’m sorry for that and I tell them that every day.”
But he also apologized to his “extended family:” the university community, fans and even the press.
The statement came after Pitino’s lawyer disputed part of the Courier-Journal report.
Citing police records, the newpaper reported that Pitino had sex with Cunagin Sypher in a restaurant after closing time and that two weeks later she called to tell him she was pregnant. Pitino then gave Cunagin Sypher $3,000 after she said she needed an abortion and didn’t have health insurance, according to a summary of Pitino’s July 12 statement to police. The coach’s attorney, Steve Pence, said Wednesday that the money was to help her get medical coverage, not specifically to pay for an abortion.
“The way this has been reported in the media is not accurate,” Pence told The Associated Press. “The coach has not done anything illegal.”
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