Most of us only know Stapleton as the rocking country music star with arguably the best voice in all of the business. But what if I told you that he once had dreams to lace up his shoes and play college basketball under the bright lights?
That might be a stretch to say honestly, since I’m just basing that off of a picture that was recently posted by legendary college basketball coach Rick Pitino. He’s one of the only head coaches to lead two different universities to NCAA titles… if you disregard the fact that the NCAA took away his most recent national championship at the University of Louisville.
As a Louisville fan, I don’t have the energy to get into that whole situation. You probably know what happened, and what led the NCAA to vacate Pitino’s 2013 NCAA title with the Louisville Cardinals. Since he left Louisville, he’s had coaching stints overseas, at Iona University, and now is the head coach of St. John’s up in New York.
And way back in the day, he got his first national championship with the University of Kentucky. From 1989 to 1997, Pitino coached the Wildcats, and led them to one of their many NCAA titles in 1996. Somewhere in those years, he also hosted a Rick Pitino Basketball Camp in Lexington, Kentucky, and guess who was there?
The “White Horse” singer was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, so the timeline makes sense for him to have participated at the UK basketball camp. He must have had a rather memorable showing at the camp too, because many years later, the former Kentucky coach tracked down this photo of a young Stapleton and said this:
“Chris Stapleton at Kentucky Wildcats basketball camp. Didn’t like the way he played defense.
Told him to go into music instead. Don’t thank me Chris, it’s okay.”
So because Stapleton didn’t play great defense (which is a staple of any Pitino led team), the Kentucky coach allegedly told him to spend his time doing something else other than basketball… like going into music.
Pitino is obviously joking there, though if I were him, I’d also be trying to take a little credit for Stapleton’s wildly successful country music career. Plus, that picture is legendary. I’d love to see what kind of jumper Chris Stapleton has.
Nowadays, I’d guess the long beard would get in the way…