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Thursday (Five things about Richard Pitino) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Gophers Updated: April 4, 2013 - 9:10 AM


The Gophers' coaching search barely lasted a week. No, honestly. They fired Tubby Smith last Monday, and they came to an agreement with Richard Pitino on Wednesday. It felt like months, but it was really just a handful of days. Now that the short but twisty path has arrived at Pitino -- who, at 30, is roughly a month younger than Bill Musselman was when he took over the Gophers in the early 1970s. Pitino has only been a head coach for one year, but he impressively took Florida International to its first winning season since 1999-2000 and navigated the program out of the shambles Isiah Thomas left it in. He also has assistant stops at many locations already, including five years combined at Louisville and Florida. Let's take a look at five quick questions when it comes to Pitino and whether he will succeed here:


1) Has he paid his dues? Some coach's kids ride the coattails of success and never learn hard work on their own. Others are driven to be just as good or better than their old man. We can't say definitively which one Pitino is, but it appears to be the latter. After watching Richard Pitino’s rise, Billy Donovan told the Palm Beach Post: “His dad made him start from the ground floor and work his way up. He wasn’t a guy that was just given a silver spoon and went right out of college into a high-major coaching position.” Indeed. He was a student manager at Providence. He was an assistant coach at a high school. He worked low-level administrative jobs. He was an assistant coach at Northeastern and Duquesne. Combined with the experience at Florida and Louisville as well as head coaching at FIU, he has the resume of someone five years older.

2) Can he recruit the Midwest? Tubby Smith did well outside the area, landing Austin/Andre Hollins from Memphis and Ralph Sampson III, a prized recruit at the time, from Georgia. But with a ton of great recruits in Minnesota and nearby western Wisconsin in 2014 and 2015, Pitino will also need to work his way into the local scene quickly. Pretty much every job he has had so far has had an East Coast bent to it. Louisville is the only one that's even borderline. You could call Louisville either North, South, East or Midwest depending on where you live.

3) Will current players buy into what he's selling? Let's not forget that while Tubby Smith wasn't perfect, his squad did make the NCAA round of 32. Hollins (x2) and other talented players return. It's important for Pitino to gain their trust quickly. This isn't a rebuild. It's a build higher -- unless there are mass transfers, in which case it is a rebuild. We could imagine Andre Hollins, in particular, flourishing in an up-tempo system, which Pitino should bring.

4) Will he energize the fan base and donor base enough to get facilities built? The best argument for a coach like Flip Saunders, other than experience, is it was suggested he would be the easiest path to short-term revitalization of the donor base, thus helping build crucial facilities such as a practice gym. Pitino, a youngster coming from the outside, doesn't bring that immediate jolt, so he'll have to win folks by demonstrating a new energy and enthusiasm.

5) If he does all these things and turns the Gophers into a Big Ten contender, will he bolt? Rick Pitino was only at Providence two years, the latter being a Final Four season, before he left. Is this Richard's Providence? We'll cross that bridge when we get there, but he clearly doesn't mind moving from job to job. That said, it would be a nice problem to have.


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 3rd Prd 9:35
Edmonton 2
San Jose 4 3rd Prd
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 66 1st OT 1:14
Kansas 70
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
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