Networks stick to Rick

May 1997

The Rick Pitino frenzy escalated on Hub channels yesterday, with Ch. 4's Bob Lobel declaring his move to coach the Celtics "a done thing," Bob Neumeier putting Pitino on-camera from an Atlanta bookstore named "Chapter 11" and Ch. 7 also aggressive with a split screen of Gary Gillis in Atlanta and John Dennis with the Larry Bird story in Indianapolis.

Ch. 7's Gene Lavanchy placed the C's Pitino offer at $ 40 million-$ 70 million over 10 years plus "a piece of the team (3 percent)." But Neumeier, in his later report, said Pitino told him team ownership is not involved.

Among network affiliates, Ch. 5 took the most conservative approach with Pitino and Bird, sliding their stories inside the sports report. But Mike Lynch had first word of Mike Keenan having a second interview about the Bruins' coaching vacancy and said his agent is already negotiating a contract with the team. "So Jack Parker's decision may be made for him," Lynch said.

With Ch. 4's sportscast airing after its two early competitors went to network news, Neumeier had Boston TV's only fresh chat with Pitino, who said he won't delay, but all that may be known today is whether he'll stay at Kentucky. That moved Kentucky WKYT-TV sports anchor Dave Baker to suggest Pitino might negotiate elsewhere in the NBA, but Lobel didn't buy the slant.

Neumeier used a play on words with the store where Pitino was hawking his book. "Rick won't have to worry about any Chapter 11 in his future," he cracked. Ch. 4 had another light moment with tight-lipped C's owner Paul Gaston walking to his limousine with Scott Wahle and momentarily unable to get inside.

Gillis was outside "Chapter 11" but didn't have a Pitino interview on the early report and said little except he was going inside to get his book signed. Dennis, alone in Indy among the Hub tube corps, said there were no other Pacers candidates, an offer was made and Bird "is bigger here."

Ch. 25's Jeff Cawley said WFXT was first to report in early April that Bird was interested in coaching the Pacers.

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