Rick Pitino: UNC fan 'got in my face and said something I didn't like'

ByC.L. Brown ESPN logo
Thursday, February 23, 2017

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A North Carolinafan was ejected from the Dean E. Smith Center after a verbal exchange with Louisvillecoach Rick Pitino during Wednesday night's 74-63 Tar Heels win.

Pitino was heading to the locker-room tunnel past the student section at halftime when he said an adult male "got in my face and said something I didn't like."

"I take it from the students all the time; you expect it from the students. But from an adult? And then to turn his back on me like he's a coward?" Pitino said. "And he is a coward, but North Carolina is a classy place and he doesn't speak for the rest of the people."

ESPN's Maria Taylor reported the fan in question yelled, "Pitino, you suck!"

Pitino then turned and had to be restrained by his coaching staff, partially ripping his jacket.

"I've always said this is the classiest place in college basketball, until I met a fan on the way out," Pitino said. "It always reminded me of a class place, but they're getting just like some of the other places now."

North Carolina coach Roy Williams didn't learn of the incident until after the game and said he apologized to Pitino.

"I don't like that. We're North Carolina. We don't have to be like everybody else," Williams said. "You can raise Cain, you can boo, but you don't have to say stuff that we as coaches have to put up with on the road. I hope that never happens again at North Carolina."

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