Rick Pitino and Louisville reach settlement and drop lawsuits ending their two-year legal battle

A legal battle that's nearly two years in the making between Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino and his former employer, the University of Louisville, is now over. The University of Louisville Athletic Association announced on Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with Pitino, officially ending his pursuit of the $38.7 million remaining on his contract when he was fired in the fall of 2017.

From a joint statement from Louisville and Pitino:   

"For 17 years, Coach Pitino ran a program that combined excellence on the court with a commitment to the program's student athletes, their academic achievement, and their future in and out of basketball. Nevertheless, there were NCAA infractions during his term which led to serious consequences for the University. Although these infractions may not have occurred at Coach Pitino's direction or with his knowledge, the problems leading to the NCAA infractions happened under his leadership. We thank Coach Pitino for his years of service to the University of Louisville basketball program and wish him well."

As part of the settlement agreement, Pitino and Louisville agreed to dismiss their legal claims against each other. And while he will not receive any money in the settlement, Louisville has agreed to change his departure from Louisville to a resignation as opposed to a firing.

"Today I move on to a new chapter in my life," Pitino said in a statement released by his lawyer. "Against my lawyer's advice I'm dropping my lawsuit with ULAA.  I am very proud of the many accomplishments my teams achieved at Louisville.  I'm so thankful and honored to coach such dedicated athletes. I'm also disappointed in how it ended. But as head coach I am held responsible for the actions of all team members."

Pitino had filed suit in late 2017 seeking the $38.7 million remaining on his deal at the time of his firing, triggering a countersuit from Louisville claiming he was an "active wrongdoer." The university cited the NCAA investigation into the Katina Powell escort scandal which led to UL vacating its 2013 NCAA Tournament championship and the FBI's investigation into the school's recruitment of Brian Bowen.

Pitino in the wake of his firing returned to coaching in Greece for Panathinaikos, who went on to win the Greek Basketball Cup under his leadership. He chose not to accept an offer to return this season as president and coach of the team, but he's maintained he still has a passion for the game and wants to coach again.

"I still have so much passion for the game and so many goals I want to achieve," Pitino said. "From this day forward I start my climb."

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