Rick Pitino calls Gordon Gee a 'pompous ass'

This is the first time we've seen Rick Pitino unhappy since his team won the national championship two months ago. It wasn't the reality of owning up to a bet and getting a tattoo or even seeing one of his horses run poorly at the Kentucky Derby that prompted public unrest.

No, it was Ohio State president Gordon Gee who rankled Pitino enough that the Louisville coach publicly called Gee a "pompous ass" on radio late last week. Gee has since apologized for remarks he made back in December (only recently publicized) that were framed as jokes but still cut deep at Catholics, Louisville, Kentucky, new Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema and the SEC as a whole.

Pitino was asked about Gee's comments on Louisville's academic reputation on WHAS' Terry Meiners Show. The audio is above, near the beginning, but here's a transcription of his comments.

"We've been the No. 1 grade point average in the Big East the past three years,"  Pitino said. "Sometimes, ignorance is bliss. ... Ignorance is not just curtailed to coaches or other people; it's curtailed to presidents as well. President Gee is obviously trying to crack jokes and denigrate other people, and in Louisville -- I can't speak for Kentucky; I'll let John [Calipari] speak for them -- we don't take kindly to those comments, and we're very insulted by it. And when people have to make jokes and denigrate others to get laughter, that means they're truly ignorant of the facts, and certainly he is ignorant of the facts. Really bothered by it."

Pitino isn't the only one, but he's one of the few coaches who has the stature to say something -- and is seldom afraid to do so. Also note this being an uncommon instance in which he and rival Calipari can find common ground and a common enemy of sorts.

Yet Pitino was able to brush off some of the shots at Louisville and Kentucky. It was the religious potshots that got him hottest.

"What really gets me boiling," said Pitino, "it's not Louisville or Kentucky. What gets me boiling is the fact he knocks the Catholics at Notre Dame. I don't know what denomination he is or what lord he prays to, but trying to get jokes out of that, it really, really boils me . ... It’s a pompous attitude and certainly I have a major problem with him, not with Ohio State, and he’s a pompous ass for making those statements."

(H/T, Lost Letterman)

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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