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“The first week, I run into him — he’s on campus doing class checks himself,” Garcia said. “He goes out and does more than he promised. So in one year’s time, he has turned around a program.”
It was one of the first moments Pitino was put on a stage by himself — tested at the helm of his first ship. But young or not, the new Gophers coach has fostered a reputation that has given those who surround him complete confidence as he heads into the next stage of his journey, even if some in Minnesota might be wary of his age.
Take, for example, his father — who got his first head-coaching job at an even younger age — who knows his son is well prepared for his next challenge.
“He is more than ready,” the elder Pitino said in a news conference at the Final Four on Thursday. “What he did at Florida International I never thought anybody could do. He took walk-ons, eight new players, he turned around a bad academic situation and won 18 games and was a bucket away from going to the NCAA [tournament] in his first year. So he is ready to coach. I feel bad that I drove him that hard — now I’m happy I did.”
|Sam Houston St||76|
|Stephen F Austin||83|
|Miss Valley St||66|
|Miss Valley St||61|
|Central Conn St||53||FINAL|
|Mount St Marys||87||FINAL|