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EXCLUSIVE: Casey Wasserman NOT Backing Rick Pitino for UCLA Hoops Job

Source indicates that a report that Casey Wasserman is backing the former Louisville coach for UCLA’s basketball coaching vacancy is incorrect.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Louisville vs Jacksonville State
Influential UCLA alum Casey Wasserman is not supporting Rick Pitino for the Bruins’ head coaching vacancy.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, in a piece for, college basketball blogger Adam Zagoria wrote:

Rick Pitino is a top target of influential boosters to be the next head men’s basketball coach at UCLA, an industry source told me.

Casey Wasserman, a billionaire UCLA alum who was influential in the hiring of Chip Kelly as UCLA’s new football coach, and John Branca, a graduate of the UCLA Law School and an entertainment lawyer who is the co-executor of Michael Jackson’s Estate, both want Pitino, the source said.

Obviously, if this were true, it could be an indication on where the search is going and it wouldn’t be a good thing because, frankly, Rick Pitino is still radioactive in collegiate athletics, due to the circumstances of his departure from Louisville.

But, fear not, Bruin fans.

I’m here to let you know that Casey Wasserman is definitely not behind any effort to bring Pitino to Westwood.

A source close to Wasserman indicated that he is not backing Rick Pitino for the UCLA head coaching job. The source went further to say, “Any reporting to the contrary is preposterous.”

So, there you have it.

Zagoria’s report claiming that Wasserman wants Pitino is not accurate. It may be true that John Branca wants the UCLA Bruins to hire Pitino, but Casey is not behind any effort to hire Rick Pitino for UCLA’s head coaching vacancy.

And, if you think about it, the thought is just crazy. Pitino is not represented by Wasserman and I would think that Casey would be more likely to want a client of his like Fred Hoiberg hired before Pitino.

The difference here, however, is that, unlike the football coaching search which brought Chip Kelly to UCLA, Casey Wasserman is not involved with the search committee.

Go Bruins!!!

Disclaimer: Casey Wasserman is a member of the Vox Media Board of Directors. Vox Media owns all of the SB Nation family of websites including Bruins Nation.