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The fine print: Update on Richard Pitino's contract and bio

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • April 5, 2013 - 12:30 PM

We got back a little while ago from Richard Pitino's introductory news conference. The young man acquitted himself pretty well, even if we're fairly sure this search did not, in fact, go exactly as Norwood Teague had planned (even though that's what the Gophers' AD said Friday). Pitino is 30. He has one year of head coaching experience. But he could very well succeed here.

We'll leave most of the impressions to others. Here are some facts:

*Pitino starts out with a salary of $1.2 million a year ($500K base plus $700K supplemental) on a six-year contract. The base portion of his salary will increase by at least 5 percent every year.

*He will get a lump sum bonus of $400,000 on April 30, 2016 and the same date 2019 if he is still coaching at the U of M.

*He has the use of a private jet for recruiting. Expenses for the jet cannot exceed $50,000 in a fiscal year. We're not sure how many jet rides that can buy a guy, but we'll look into it.

*If Minnesota fires him, it owes him (buyout) half his base salary plus all supplemental salary remaining. However, if Pitino gets another "comparable" job, Minnesota's payments to Pitino would end. That's a good provision for Minnesota and one it did not have for Tubby Smith, who walked away with a $2.5 million buyout and a big contract at Texas Tech on top of it.

*If Pitino wants to get out of his contract early, he has to pay $1.5 million before April 30, 2016, and $500,000 anytime after that for the length of the contract.

*Pitino also has rather modest bonuses in comparison to Smith. We won't get into all of them. He does get $50K if Minnesota has a winning record in the Big Ten -- something Smith never accomplished.

Also, we had a chance to speak with current Marshall head coach Tom Herrion, who was the head coach at College of Charleston back in 2005 and hired Pitino for his first college job. Pitino was an admin there -- director of basketball operations is how Herrion remembers the title, though he wasn't positive.

There has been some question, sparked by an e-mailer, about how long and when Pitino was at the school. His bio at Florida International, Florida and Louisville said he was there for the 2004-05 season. That was an administrative oversight, Pitino said through a Gophers spokesman, and will be corrected. Pitino said through that spokesman that he was at Charleston for three months between the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons. That was the same thing Herrion said. Pitino was hired in the summer shortly after graduating from Providence and stayed until early fall, when there was an assistant coach opening at Northeastern that he filled. So he was certainly at the school; the time frame needs an adjustment.

Herrion said the admin job at Charleston didn't even have a salary. Pitino had his rent paid at a one-room studio apartment and had a meal card at the school cafeteria. That was it, Herrion said. Taking the job at Northeastern was a no-brainer, Herrion added.

"I made it clear to him that the job (at Charleston) was what it was. It was an entry level position. It was the bottom of the food chain. Laundry, class checks. There was a lot of non-glamorous stuff. But he never rode his dad’s coattails. He's a humble young man who worked really hard," Herrion said.

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