December 23, 2019 / 5:31 PM / a month ago

Pitino, Adidas settle legal dispute

Rick Pitino and Adidas have settled the former Louisville coach’s claim that the company led to his firing from the university.

FILE PHOTO: Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino gives a statement on NCAA decision to strip U of L's 2013 title in New York, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The Hall of Fame coach had sued Adidas, and 16 months ago, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling the two sides must settle the case in arbitration.

Terms of the settlement were not announced, but the two sides issued a joint statement that acknowledged the issues had been settled.

“Over 16 years working with Adidas, Coach Pitino demonstrated his passion for basketball and his commitment to excellence both on and off the court,” the statement read. “We wish Coach Pitino the best in his new role as head coach of Panathinaikos, the Greek national team and any future endeavors.”

Pitino filed suit against the apparel giant in October 2017, contending the company “knowingly and recklessly caused him emotional distress when its employees conspired to bribe University of Louisville basketball recruits.”

The bribery allegation came to light amid a federal investigation into college basketball, and two Adidas employees and an aspiring sports agent were linked to a plan to pay Michigan high schooler Brian Bowen’s family $100,000 in exchange for his commitment to the Cardinals.

Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave on Sept. 27, 2017, and fired Oct. 16 of that year. He has denied any knowledge of the payments.

The coach, now 67, also sued the university for breach of contract, seeking the $38.7 million still owed to him. The two sites settled in September. Pitino didn’t receive any money, but Louisville agreed to call his Louisville exit a resignation instead of a firing.

Pitino is the only coach to win NCAA national championships at two schools — Louisville and Kentucky. He reached a combined six Final Fours with the two teams.

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