About three minutes before tip-off Saturday night, Richard Pitino’s younger brother Ryan walked into his office and announced he needed to change.
“Change?” Pitino asked. “What are you changing into.”
The next two words were somewhat unpredictable:
“He just said ‘chicken costume’ and walked right out of my office,” Pitino said.
Thus Rick Pitino, legendary head coach of Louisville and father to Richard, wound up sitting next to a chicken for most of the Gophers’ 66-60 win over Indiana.
“Allegedly he lost a bet,” Richard Pitino said.
The event sparked a minor sensation on Twitter, with multiple national outlets posting pictures of the unlikely duo — one Hall of Famer and one chicken, just enjoying a game of basketball.
On a more serious note, Pitino talked about relishing the chance to share with his dad what he constantly brags about: the electric atmosphere of Williams Arena in a big game.
“I mean, I brag a lot to those guys about this place,” Pitino said. “So to do it in front of people that you talk about it all the time to is really fun.”
The Barn was sold out and plenty raucous on Saturday. One particular Barnyard animal might have been the happiest, and the most scrutinized: Chicken Pitino.
Gophers junior guard Andre Hollins shook his head. “That’s family loyalty right there,” he said.