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Louisville coach Rick Pitino: 'I can go for a long time'

Rick Pitino's contract with Louisville would keep him as the Cardinals coach through 2019. Photo:

Rick Pitino's contract with Louisville would keep him as the Cardinals coach through 2019.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Rick Pitino's game plan doesn't include retirement any time soon.

The 61-year-old Louisville men's basketball coach said Wednesday he "can go for a long time" thanks to the enthusiasm provided by recent Cardinals recruiting classes. Pitino said during a news conference discussing a roster that's preparing to enter the tough Atlantic Coast Conference that his "passion and enthusiasm is better at 61 than it was at 31, and I had great passion back then."

Pitino is signed through 2021-22 after agreeing to a five-year contract extension in October 2012. He would be 69 when it expires but sounds eager to coach beyond that age.

Stoking Pitino's fire is the challenge of replacing high-scoring guard Russ Smith and perimeter threat Luke Hancock, which he believes is possible with Louisville's returning personnel.

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