I don’t know if Rick Pitino was ever a Boy Scout, but he always is prepared.
For instance, in addition to the University of Louisville’s basketball medical and training staff at every game the Cardinals play, home or away, is another man equally important.
You have seen him. He sits two or three rows behind the Cardinals’ bench.
He is a man of the cloth – Father Ed Bradley, a Catholic priest.
Father Ed was introduced to college basketball when Pitino coached Kentucky. And when Cawood Ledford died, Father Ed went to Harlan deep in the southeast coal fields of Kentucky to officiate, along with a Protestant minister, at the funeral for the Voice of the Wildcats.
Journalism schools prepare students for etymology, the origin of words, but don’t do much on medical terms, and pray that students never have to use the words “gruesome” and “horrific.”
But nothing describes as well as do those two words about an injury to the Cardinals’ Kevin Ware. It happened when the sophomore tried to block a three-point shot. Instead he landed on his right leg and suffered a gruesome fracture.
When Pitino went to help Ware up, the coach and Ware saw the bone protruding through the skin.
Pitino lost it when he saw the bone. When trainer Fred Hina reached Ware, he covered the wound with a towel while strength coach Ray Ganong started talking with him to calm him down.
Know what happened next? Ware told the medical staff, “Get someone in for me.”
Luke Hancock consoled Ware, who kept saying, “Win the game.”
When play resumed, Pitino didn’t lose it, but he had tears and that isn’t something that I can remember ever happening in public.