Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball fans wanted a big name and they got one.
Pitino. Richard Pitino.
According to USA Today, the University of Minnesota has reached an agreement with Richard Pitino to become the new head coach of the Golden Gophers.
Richard, 30, is the son of Rick Pitino, who is one of the best collegiate basketball coaches of all time and currently has his Louisville Cardinals in the Final Four in Atlanta.
With the 2012-13 season being his only head coaching season, Richard Pitino does not have a whole lot of head coaching experience.
However, Pitino did coach the Florida International Golden Panthers to an overall record of 18-14 and a conference record of 11-9. He lead the Golden Panthers to their first winning season in 13 years with only three scholarship players on the roster.
The Golden Panthers finished in fifth in the Sun Belt conference and lost in the conference tournament championship game.
How did Richard Pitino have a connection with the Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague?
Pitino was an assistant under Billy Donovan, another great college coach, at Florida from 2009-11. Billy Donovan and Norwood Teague have a close relationship which can be tracked to Teague’s time at Virginia Commonwealth.
At VCU, Teague hired two Donovan assistants to be the head coach of the Rams: Anthony Grant and some guy named Shaka Smart.
So there’s the connection we have been looking for.
Other notable stops for Richard Pitino is two stops in Louisville.
From 2007-09, Richard Pitino was an assistant for his father, but left for the gig in Florida (Billy Donovan being a Rick Pitino disciple). After his stop in Florida, Richard came back to be the associate head coach with his father in Louisville.
Pitino is replacing Tubby Smith at the University of Minnesota who in six years had an overall record of 124-81, but a Big Ten conference record of 46-62.
Smith lead the Gophers to three NCAA tournaments, winning one game.
After his firing, Smith was hired as the new head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders on Monday.
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