Louisville coach Rick Pitino, fresh off winning his second national championship, led a class of 12 into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield, Mass., on Sunday.
Pitino has taken three schools to the Final Four and two won national titles. His 1996 Kentucky team also cut down the nets to end the NCAA tournament.
Pitino, who got his start at Boston University before college forays at Providence and Kentucky spun around NBA tours with the New York Knicks and Boston Celitcs, was philospohical about the honor.
"Coaches don't get in the Hall of Fame," Pitino said at his induction. "Players put them in the Hall of Fame and I've had a great journey along the way."
Also entering the hall, in its largest-ever class, were:
- Legendary UNLV Runnin' Rebels coach Jerry Tarkanian (1990 national title)
- Longtime Houston coach Guy Lewis (five Final Fours, including Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler's Phi Slamma Jamma team which lost to the Cinderella NC State team in 1983)
- Longtime Seattle Sonics point man Gary Payton, the only NBA player with 20,000 points, 8,000 assists, 5,000 rebounds and 2,000 steals.
- Smooth small forward Bernard King, who averaged 22.5 points in 15 NBA seasons with five teams
- North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell
- WNBA All-Star and Olympic standout Dawn Staley
- Ex-Knicks guard Richie Guerin
- Ex-NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik
- Five-time Brazilian Olympic sharpshooter Oscar Schmidt
- African-American basketball pioneer E.B. Henderson
- Ex-ABA All-Star Roger Brown