LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville's Rick Pitino will not coach Puerto Rico's national team, citing scheduling conflicts in announcing his change of plans Wednesday.
The Cardinals' coach had agreed in December to coach Puerto Rico in a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament late this summer and had hoped to have his Louisville team play the Puerto Rican national team as part of a foreign trip. But the NCAA shot down that proposal because Puerto Rico is Commonwealth of the United States and is not considered a foreign country under NCAA rules.
An acceptable site for the foreign trip where both teams could visit simultaneously could not be arranged. The addition of a second tournament also conflicted with his duties at Louisville.
"I was so looking forward to coaching the Puerto Rico national team, but too many conflicts arose," Pitino said. "It is a great disappointment that we cannot take on the challenge to help them qualify for the Olympics."
Pitino had planned to coach the Puerto Rico in the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship basketball tournament in late August. Puerto Rico must finish among the top two teams to advance to the 2012 Olympics in London.
Pitino's announcement came a day after Kentucky coach John Calipari said he was considering an offer to coach the Dominican Republic national team in the same tournament.