Richard Pitino Named Minnesota's New Head Coach

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistApril 3, 2013

An agreement to make Richard Pitino the new head basketball coach at Minnesota has been reached.

UPDATE: Friday, April 5, at 11:00 a.m ET by Michael Cahill

Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press released the details of Pitino's contract via his twitter account



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UPDATE: Wednesday, April 3, at 7:05 p.m. ET by Rob Goldberg

Marcus Fuller of the Minnesota Pioneer Press reports that the school has officially announced Richard Pitino as the basketball team's new head coach:

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Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports reports that Pitino will replace Tubby Smith.

Richard Pitino is expected to succeed Tubby Smith at Minnesota, sources told

Sources told that Rick Pitino's son, who led Florida International to 18 victories in his first season as a head coach, has agreed to a deal to replace Smith with the Gophers.

The son of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino is slated to take over a Golden Gophers program that went 21-13 during the 2012-13 season. They qualified for the NCAA tournament and defeated UCLA in the second round before losing to Florida. 

Pitino is coming off his first season as a head coach. He led Florida International to an 18-14 overall record, including an 11-9 mark in Sun Belt play, before guiding the Golden Panthers to the conference championship game. They lost to Western Kentucky, falling one win short of a tournament bid.

The season still amounted to an impressive debut campaign for Pitino in terms of running his own program. He previously held multiple assistant coaching jobs, most notably under his father with the Cardinals and under Billy Donovan with the Gators.

The 30-year-old coach will take over for Smith, who led the Minnesota program from 2007 until the team was eliminated from this year's NCAA tournament. He compiled a 124-81 record over that span, but failed to crack .500 in Big Ten play.

Although the Big Ten is one of the nation's top basketball conferences, the decision to let Smith go shows the Golden Gophers have hopes of contending for conference titles. Smith wasn't able to get them to that level after six seasons.

Turning to an inexperienced head coach like Pitino comes with risks, however. It usually takes more than one season for a coach to build up an identity, which is key with incoming recruits. How that will impact the new Gophers coach is yet to be seen.

Minnesota clearly felt confident he could handle the transition without more experience. The name recognition and having worked under two terrific coaches in the elder Pitino and Donovan should definitely help his cause.

The pressure is on Pitino to make Minnesota look smart for taking a chance on him. There's no offseason in college basketball, so once the deal becomes official, his work to move the program toward the top of the conference begins.