By Lorie Hailey
Photos courtesy of UofL Athletics
ATLANTA (April 9, 2013) — Rick Pitino is getting a tattoo.
Earlier this year, the University of Louisville’s basketball coach promised his team that he would get a tattoo if the Cardinals won the NCAA Tournament. After the team topped Michigan, 82-76, Monday night at the Georgia Dome to earn the school’s third National Championship, Pitino said he would keep his promise.
“Our biggest motivation,” player Peyton Siva said, “was to get coach a tattoo.”
Siva has been quoted as saying he wants to see Pitino get the traditional “tramp stamp” location on his lower back.
“About 12 or 13 games ago, all of these guys, when they’d say hello, they’d say, ‘Get a tattoo,’” Pitino told CBS’ Jim Nantz after the game. “They said, if you win the national championship, you are getting a tattoo. I said, ‘Yeah, I am getting a tattoo.’”
CBS News reported that the coach will have a Cardinal tattooed on his left shoulder.
“I said it … not believing this was going to be a reality but I am going to get it. I’m a man of my word. I’m going to get it on my left shoulder,” Pitino said, according to CBS News. “It will be a cardinal and it will say 2013 champions.”
It was a big day for Pitino. Earlier in the day he was introduced as a member of the latest Hall of Fame class.
The Cardinals (35-5) lived up to their billing as the top overall seed in the tournament, bringing the NCAA title to Kentucky for the second year in a row. Last year, the University of Kentucky wildcats won the title. Pitino is the first coach to win national titles at two schools.
The team rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat Michigan. Luke Hancock led the team in scoring, with 22 points, coming off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers in the first half. He made it five-for-five in the second half, with 3:20 remaining. He also hit two free throws with 29 seconds left in the game.
Besides Pitino’s tattoo, the Cardinals were also playing for Kevin Ware, whose gruesome injury sidelined him earlier in the tournament. (His leg snapped when he landed awkwardly. Almost everyone on the floor cried as Ware writhed on the floor in pain, the bone sticking through his skin.)
He sat on the sidelines Monday with his leg propped up on a chair, cheering on his teammates. When the Cards won, Ware hobbled onto the court, where he put on a championship cap. Later, the basket was lowered so that he could cut a strand of the net.
The Lady Cardinals play UConn tonight for the NCAA Women’s Championship title. Broadcast live from New Orleans on ESPN, the game begins at 8:30 p.m.
Follow lanereport.com editor Lorie Hailey on Twitter at @loriehailey.