Pitino, who knew some of Young’s messy past, had just taken his first head coaching job at Florida International and wanted to hire the man he had grown to respect.
“He called me and said, ‘Kimani, what’s the deal? Give it to me from A to Z; I want to go and fight for you,’ ” Young said.
When Pitino left for Minneapolis, he spoke to Young immediately about coming with him, Young said.
Now as an assistant at a major Division I school, Young has come a long way from that hazy July afternoon in 1999. He’s where he wanted to be about a decade ago, albeit with many hurdles along the way — having accomplished what would seem to inspire a man to look in the mirror and feel proud.
But for Young, it’s enough to simply recognize the reflection and see the good that surrounds him.
“I don’t look at it that way,” he said of feeling proud of his accomplishments. “I really look at myself as fortunate more than proud. I’ve had tremendous, tremendous, tremendous support along the way from coaches to administrators to professional people along the way of me trying to rebuild my image and reinvent myself. I’m more thankful and appreciative of them than I am proud of myself.”