Twelve years after his unsuccessful stint as head coach of the Celtics mercifully ended, Boston fans apparently still haven't forgiven Rick Pitino.
That much is clear from the positive response to a classless stunt from a pair of Boston sports talk radio hosts Thursday morning.
As part of his promotional tour in support of his new book "The One-Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life," Pitino agreed to an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. Needless to say, the hall of fame coach wasn't on the air with hosts Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb very long.
Toucher: We are joined by Rick Pitino, former coach of the Celtics, current coach of the Louisville Cardinals who won the national championship. Rick Pitino, hello!
Pitino: Morning, guys.
Toucher: You stink. You ruined the Celtics.
Then the station hung up on Pitino, the interview was over and the hosts proceeded to congratulate one-another over how "awesome" the segment had been. The entire cringe-worthy segment can be heard here for anyone who wants to relive it.
In a sad but predictable twist, response to the stunt from Boston fans has been mostly positive. One site even went so far as to call Toucher a "hero" for trying to embarrass a man who resigned as Celtics coach in Jan. 2001 with a 102-146 record over the course of four seasons.
Credit Toucher and Shertenlieb for generating national publicity for their show, I guess, but to me the segment was both unprofessional and a wasted opportunity.
They could have grilled Pitino about giving up on Chauncey Billups too quickly. They could have needled him about the horrendous seven-year contract he gave journeyman center Travis Knight. They could have poked fun at his memorable rant in which he lectured Boston fans that Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish weren't walking through the door again. But to tell Pitino he stinks and hang up on him? That's childish and embarrassing.
The good news for Pitino is the radio stunt has generated more publicity for his book than anything he would have said about it in the interview could have. A couple of jabs from a pair of radio hosts is a small price to pay for that.