Louisville coach Rick Pitino has faced some hard situations some say he is a changed man. From Kevin Ware’s recent leg injury to his extortion case exposed three years ago. Remember? The woman’s name is Karen Cunagin Sypher.
The messy details of his private life were exposed and left his buttoned-down reputation in a few peaces let’s put it like that. Pitino, a married father of five denied Sypher’s allegations that he raped her at Porcini, after the restaurant closed, and again a few weeks later at a different location, things got really ugly when three weeks later she called to say she was pregnant! To which Pitino fixed by giving her $3,000 for an abortion and there was even a big extortion trial.
Sypher threatened to reveal a sexual tryst with the basketball coach unless he paid her millions in cash, luxury cars and a house! To what Patino had to testify during trial that he had with Sypher — who then was known as Karen Wise — in the empty restaurant after she whispered to him and then unzipped his pants. Pitino said the lasted “15 seconds” and was “unfortunate.” All leading to a casual consented session.
Ouch! he actually had to acknowledge that. Oh well but guess what, do you remember what went down?? Karen Cunagin Sypher was actually sentenced for more then seven years in prison! Yup it all turned on her! A jury convicted Sypher in August back in 2010 of extortion, lying to the FBI and retaliation against a witness. The charges carried a maximum sentence of 26 years, but federal sentencing guidelines called for a shorter term. District Judge Charles R. Simpson III sentenced her to 87 months in prison.
Sypher was released on bond. After a closed, 2½-hour hearing on a prosecution attempt to have her immediately taken into custody, Simpson determined she was not a danger to the community but said she cannot travel outside the western half of Kentucky.
Judge Simpson called the crime:
“sheer greed and a desire for money and other accoutrements for a lifestyle for which the defendant desired.”
Sypher who is a former model and auto glass saleswoman clung to her son Jacob Wise after the hearing and did not make any comments as they were leaving the courthouse.
Three years later and Pitino is on top of the coaching world again. Louisville is back in the Final Four for the first time since 2005 after what is undoubtedly one of the finest coaching jobs of Pitino’s career.
“A lot of times the last two years I took a lot of grief from a lot of people saying a lot of things,”
“And I never thought in my life I could turn the other cheek and just walk on. And I did. And some of the most ugly things I’ve heard, I just took it inside. And today, as I look back on it, I’m real proud that you could turn the other cheek.”
Heavy stuff! And as far as Karen goes she collaborated with Giovanni Rustino for a book titled “Guilty until proven innocent” the Karen Sypher Story. You can reed more here.