LOUISVILLE, KY - Dapper Louisville Cardinals coach Rick Pitino is one of the many basketball coaches famous for being very well dressed at all times. But the very dapper Pitino is now sporting a very new look that will soon be made public. The reason? The Kentucky branch of the influential First Association of Redneck Trash (FART), a little known but powerful organization with its regional office based out of a rundown shack in central Kentucky, decided they did not like Pitino's pinstriped corporate executive style and that a change was overdue.
"He don't represent us like he should" said Cletus Buford, president of the Association in an exclusive interview. "He's been in Kentucky fer a long time now and he STILL looks like some New York EXECUTIVE! Look at them fancy shoes with them little tassels on 'em! Folks where we come from don't even WEAR shoes! And those city boy suits! He's been here long enough. It's time fer him to look like he belongs here! Too high 'n mighty!"
At first, Coach Pitino just laughed contemptuously, and when asked about his thoughts at a press conference, pointed at his dapperly attired feet. "What am I supposed to do? Do they expect me to take these off and coach in my bare feet? Nothing is going to turn ME into a bubba! I'm happy in my business suits!"
But this is a very powerful group of good ol' boys. They took Pitino's patronizing attitude as a challenge. Buford announced: "I think Mister Pitino is gonna find out that his fancy, shiny, expensive shoes are feelin' a LITTLE too tight and that he's gonna feel the need to take 'em off his yuppie feet. We're just gonna help him!"
The group has strong ties with Kentucky's politicians, and the Cardinals management did not say anything when a meeting was arranged with Pitino. Threats of boycotts and protests remain unsubstantiated. The stunned coach left the emergency meeting with the association in their trailer in a local swamp with a list indicating a new dress code that they assume he will follow.
Pitino went into seclusion and refused interviews, but Buford confirmed later that he has personally divested the coach of a pair of Gucci wingttips and a Hermes necktie at the height of a contentious discussion.
A spokesman for the Cardinals, who wished to remain anonymous, issued a statement: "We will do everything we can to make sure that the Kentucky Association of Redneck Trash is happy with Coach Pitino's new look. The process of officially transforming Coach Pitino into a genuine redneck has now begun. We are calling the process "bubbaizing." He has agreed never to wear shoes or socks and to remain barefoot at all games from now on. He has agreed that he will never again wear a business suit or a necktie at a game or associated event"
"He has also agreed to wear dirty overalls with the FART logo on them. He has agreed to replace his current clean-cut haircut with a mullet, and to stop shaving on a daily basis. He will have a unibrow added to his face, and keep dirt under his fingernails. He has also agreed to undergo an intensive redneck language course and to legally change his name to Bubba."
"So the formerly impeccably dressed coach who strutted on the court in the most expensive designer attire and was known for his high class style is trading his $2,000 Italian business suits, cufflinks, starched shirts and silk ties for bib overalls and NASCAR tee shirts. In addition, he is now forced to step out of his $1,000 Gucci wingtips and Brooks Brothers silk socks and will coach in his bare feet from now on. The process of "bubbaizing" Pitino will take several months but is well under way."
Pitino reportedly begged FART to allow him to keep just one pair of cufflinks and one pair of handmade Ferragamo shoes, but the response was: "You're gonna be barefoot from now on! You ain't gonna need no handmade shoes!"
What will that mean for the Cardinals from now on? Will Pitino's record as a coach also "go south" along with his famous Armani suits?
Will fans and players respect a shoeless, bearded, trailer trash Pitino as they did when he dressed like a dignified stockbroker? And will this start a trend among basketball coaches, known for their expensive suits? Just when football coaches are starting to question their own laid-back look, maybe they are trading places? As for Pitino, he appeared today at an auction; FART auctioned off all of his business attire yesterday to raise money for FART to donate to NASCAR.