NCAA Men's Basketball

Tattoo U: Pitino puts title in ink as promised

04/26 9:42 AM

Louisville coach Rick Pitino followed through on his promise to get inked if his Cardinals won the national championship.

When Louisville coach Rick Pitino walked into the city's Tattoo Salvation on Friday morning, he was out to show his players that he would follow through on this midseason promise -- you win the national title, I will get inked.

On Feb. 9, after a demoralizing loss to Notre Dame that required five overtimes to settle, Pitino told his Cardinals that they'd win out, win the Big East title and get to the Final Four.

"I then told them they have to stop with all these tattoos," Pitino said.

That's when the players fired back at Pitino. If the Cardinals could win the national title, would the coach get his own tattoo?

The rest is history. Louisville rallied to defeat Michigan 82-76 in the championship game on April 8, with Pitino becoming the first coach to win national crowns at two schools, and he revealed his tattoo promise in a postgame interview.

"Our biggest motivation," senior guard Peyton Siva said after the victory, "was to get coach a tattoo."

Adam Potts has lived in Louisville his entire life, so as the owner of a tattoo shop in town, he saw this as an opportunity. He sent a letter to Pitino saying he'd be interested in doing the work. Things got surreal when the coach walked in.

Pitino brought his own idea of the design to Potts with the Louisville "L," "2013," "NCAA Champions" and the team's final record of 35-5.

"I was a little nervous," Potts said Friday. "I felt like I did when I did my first tattoo 12 years ago."

As for Pitino, he said he wasn't fearing the pain.

"It wasn't even close to the pain I had with kidney stones," Pitino said. "That was like an 'A' in pain, this was a 'C.'"

So did Pitino pay for the tattoo?

Said Potts: "I was running a free special for any Hall of Fame coaches who won an NCAA championship in the last 30 days."

Indeed, April 8 was a banner date for the coach. Before the game, Pitino was introduced as a member of the latest Basketball Hall of Fame class.


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