ATLANTA — Rick Pitino got the phone call of a lifetime and an incredible text message at the same time.

On Wednesday, John Doleva, president of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, called seven people to tell them they had made the Class of 2013.

Pitino was one of the seven.

“When I got the call, I was trying to call my wife over so she could hear it, and I’m trying to put it on speaker phone and a text keeps beeping as I’m getting this special call,” Pitino said Monday, just hours before he led Louisville against Michigan in the national title game. “I saw the text. ‘Go Gophers. I got the job.’ ”

It was his son, Richard, who had just found out he was chosen to be head coach at Minnesota. It’s been that kind of week for Pitino, who is among 12 people in the Class of 2013.

The others announced Monday during a ceremony at the Final Four were college coaches Guy Lewis of Houston, Jerry Tarkanian of UNLV and Sylvia Hatchell of North Carolina; former NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton; and former Virginia star Dawn Staley.

The inductions will take place Sept. 8 in Springfield, Mass.

Inductees announced previously were: Edwin E.B. Henderson, a direct elect by the Early African Pioneer Committee; longtime Indiana Pacers guard Roger Brown; Oscar Schmidt of Brazil, the leading scorer in Olympic history; Richie Guerin, a star for the New York Knicks in the 1950s; and Russ Granik, longtime assistant commissioner of the NBA.

But Pitino stole the show. It’s been that kind of week — and it has gone beyond basketball.

On Saturday, Goldencents, a horse that Pitino co-owns, won the Santa Anita Derby, a prep race for the Kentucky Derby.

“I was looking around for lightning,” he joked. “This was such a special moment.”

Pitino, the only coach to take three schools to the Final Four, has won 661 games in 28 seasons as a college coach, and his 47-16 record in the NCAA tournament is the third-highest winning percentage among active coaches.

Payton was known as “The Glove” for his defensive prowess in his years with the Seattle SuperSonics. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Lewis led Houston to five Final Fours in his 30 years with the Cougars. Tarkanian took three schools to the NCAA tournament, but he will always be known for his teams at UNLV that made four Final Four appearances and won it all in 1990.

Hatchell joins North Carolina men’s coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams as Hall of Famers. She is one of three women’s coaches to record 900 victories. Staley was a three-time Olympic gold medalist, five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time national college player of the year.


Young plans to return: Florida center Patric Young is staying in school for his senior season, a decision that should make the Gators one of the favorites in the Southeastern Conference.

Young’s choice was no big surprise since he has talked for weeks about wanting to get his degree. The 6-foot-9 junior from Jacksonville averaged 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds this season. With seniors Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy and Mike Rosario graduating, Young could be the focal point of coach Billy Donovan’s offense next season.

Young had been projected as a second-round pick.


PROBE SPREADS: Rutgers officials are scrutinizing practice videos of all sports to see whether any coach engaged in behavior like the type that cost basketball coach Mike Rice his job.

The inquiry into Rice and how university officials responded also is going deeper: The school announced that it plans to hire a consultant to conduct an independent review.

University President Robert Barchi said he wants any instances of bullying or homophobic language to be reported immediately. He reiterated that he wished he had viewed the video where Rice shoved players and called them gay slurs when it surfaced in November, saying he would have fired Rice then.

Around the nation

New Mexico guard Tony Snell will skip his senior season to enter the NBA draft. ... Maryland point guard Pe’Shon Howard was granted permission by the school to transfer for his senior season. ... Kansas State said sophomore forward Adrian Diaz decided to transfer.