CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman, who broke the news that Tubby Smith was fired and is tight with Gophers' officials, is reporting that Minnesota has a verbal agreement in place with Richard Pitino to be the new head basketball coach. Pitino, the son of legendary head coach Rick Pitino, is 30 years old. He was the head coach at Florida International last year, his first year as a head coach. He had five years combined as an assistant at Louisville and Florida.
Richard Pitino has reached a verbal agreement to become the next coach at Minnesota, sources told CBSSports -- cbssports.com/collegebasketb…— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanCBS) April 3, 2013
Previously, ESPN's Andy Katz reported it was close to being finalized.
Just filed to ESPN, story coming, Minnesota close to finalizing a deal with FIU coach Richard Pitino.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) April 3, 2013
Initially, my impression was that it would be too soon for the son of legendary Rick Pitino to make a move to a major conference school. After all, Richard has only a single season of head coaching experience. No, before you ask, Pitino is not a Villa 7 guy. But the more I look into it/ think about it, the more sense he makes.
- Pitino might not be a Villa 7 grad, but in a way he’s of Villa 7 ilk. Pitino coached as an assistant under his pops, Rick, and under Florida coach, Billy Donovan for a total of five years. The last two hires at VCU when Norwood Teague and Mike Ellis were there were Florida assistants (Anthony Grant, then Shaka Smart), so those two obviously think something of Donovan’s staff. Pitino was the top assistant for his dad at Louisville two seasons ago before taking Florida International to its first winning season since 1999-2000 last year. The Golden Panthers made it to the Sun Belt title game, where they lost by two to Western Kentucky.
- Like his dad, Richard Pitino has the reputation of being a tireless worker and a stellar recruiter, the kind of coach and personality that will be needed at Minnesota, especially considering what the team lost in Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams.
- Considering some of the names that are out there, Pitino’s might be one of the “smaller” hires that could actually generate some excitement in the Twin Cities, simply based on his last name. He’s an up-and-comer with a background and a family tree.