Pitino gets Hall of Fame nod before championship game

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By Jason Hanna

(CNN) — As far as marquee days go, Monday will be hard to beat for University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Just hours before his Cardinals were to face Michigan for the NCAA Division I title game, the Basketball Hall of Fame confirmed he’ll be one of the hall’s newest members.

Pitino — the only men’s coach to lead three schools to Final Four appearances — will be inducted into the Massachusetts-based hall in September with a number of others, including nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, and four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King.

Pitino acknowledged a number of players he’s coached, including former New York Knicks guard Mark Jackson, as “guys … that help you arrive at this point.”

“Your mind races with so many people who (were) a part of this,” Pitino said at Monday’s announcement in Atlanta.

Former UNLV and Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, and three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell also will be inducted, the Hall of Fame said

Pitino coached Providence College, the University of Kentucky and Louisville to the Final Four, winning the NCAA championship with Kentucky in 1996. He also coached the NBA’s Knicks and Boston Celtics.

Louisville plays Michigan in Atlanta on Monday night.

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