Gophers assistant Dan McHale was hired as the head men's basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky.

McHale, who was hired as Richard Pitino's top assistant in the spring of 2013 after working under Kevin Willard at Seton Hall for the previous three seasons, confirmed he took the job Tuesday.

"I'm excited to take on a new challenge and represent a great university in Eastern Kentucky," McHale told the Star Tribune. "I'm just ready for the next part of my journey. I couldn't have done this without coach Pitino and everything we've done at the University of Minnesota. I'll miss Minnesota on a daily basis, but this was the right decision for me and my family. Coach Pitino and his staff absolutely have his program going in the right direction."

McHale said he will be introduced at a news conference Thursday. The New Jersey native has roots in Kentucky, graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2001 and working first as a staff assistant and then as director of video operations at Louisville.

The Colonels have been to the NCAA tournament three times since 2000, most recently losing to Kansas in their first game in 2014. Their NCAA tournament record is 0-8. Last season, they posted a 21-12 record but lost to Belmont by one in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Eastern Kentucky won two games in the low-level postseason tournament before being ousted by Tennessee-Martin, also by one point.

Amelia Rayno