Found April 03, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS As the coaching search dragged on, past the one-week mark, Gophers basketball fans started to get restless. They had hoped it wouldn't take this long to find the replacement for Tubby Smith, who wore out his welcome in Minnesota and eventually was fired last Monday. During that time, several potential candidates were brought up. That included Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, both of whom received contract extensions amid the Gophers' pursuits. They were two names that Minnesota fans would have loved to see take over for Smith, but both turned down Minnesota's advances and were content at their current jobs. Enter Flip Saunders, who was reportedly offered the Gophers job but turned it down. Saunders played college basketball at Minnesota and later coached the Minnesota Timberwolves, among other NBA teams. Fans seemed frustrated when Saunders turned down the job, forcing athletic director Norwood Teague to continue the coaching search. On Wednesday, that search finally came to an end when the school announced that Florida International coach Richard Pitino agreed to become the seventeenth head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota. He was a name that likely wasn't on many or any people's radars when the coaching search began, but that doesn't make it a bad hire. For starters, he has the pedigree. It's already been well-documented that Richard Pitino is the son of Rick Pitino, who has led Louisville to the Final Four this season. The elder Pitino also has an NCAA championship on his resume from his time at Kentucky and has taken teams to the NCAA Tournament 18 times, including six Final Fours. While that doesn't necessarily mean his son will have the same success, it can't hurt to have a dad with that type of coaching acumen. And the younger Pitino learned from his father while serving as an assistant coach at Louisville for three seasons. At just 30 years old, Pitino is 31 years younger than the 61-year-old Smith. To put it into perspective, Smith was an assistant coach at VCU before Pitino was born. And if Pitino were coaching this year's Gophers team, he would have been just six years older than Minnesota's sixth-year senior Trevor Mbakwe. Pitino's age doesn't necessarily have to work against him, however. There can be advantages to hiring a young head coach, even in a Big Ten Conference that has established coaches such as Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan and Tom Crean. At 30 years old, Pitino is easily the youngest coach in the Big Ten. Northwestern recently hired 38-year-old Chris Collins as its next coach, making Collins the second-youngest after Pitino. A young coach might have an easier time relating to college-age kids. Take the previously mentioned Smart, for example. He's just 35 years old and was just 33 when he led VCU to the Final Four in 2011. He was then viewed as an up-and-coming coach and has had his name brought up in coaching vacancy rumors including Minnesota. In Smith's case, he was more than four decades older than most of his players, which can certainly cause a disconnect between teacher and pupil. What's to say the 30-year-old Pitino can't inject some youthful exuberance into the Gophers program? It may also help him connect with recruits, and Minnesota has its eyes on plenty of in-state products, including Apple Valley point guard Tyus Jones, among others. Whether or not Pitino can land any of them remains to be seen, but he has plenty of experience as a recruiter during while an assistant coach at Louisville and several other schools. It would be easy to point towards Pitino's lack of experience as his biggest strike. After replacing Isiah Thomas at FIU, Pitino was at the helm for just one year before taking the Gophers job but led his team to an 18-14 overall record and an 11-9 mark in the Sun Belt Conference. One year earlier, the Golden Panthers were a dismal 8-21 overall and 5-11 in conference play. It may be a small sample size to judge, but Pitino helped turn things around in just one year at FIU. On the surface, it's not a bad hire for Minnesota. It's not the big name that fans might have been hoping for, but they should put their trust athletic director Norwood Teague and associate AD Mike Ellis, who fashion themselves as basketball guys. After all, they were the ones that hired the previously unknown Smart at VCU, and that seemed to work out OK. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.

Pitino vows fast offense, pressure defense

MINNEAPOLIS The University of Minnesota pulled out all the stops to welcome the school's new men's basketball coach. The pep band, cheerleaders, fans and even Goldy Gopher all showed up as Richard Pitino was introduced at Williams Arena.It was a big moment for the Minnesota program, but an even bigger moment for the 30-year-old Pitino."I'm extremely excited about...

FIU's Richard Pitino in talks with Minnesota

Minnesota is in advanced discussions with Richard Pitino, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, to take over for Tubby Smith. Two people with knowledge of the discussions say Pitino engaged in negotiations with Minnesota officials on Wednesday. The people requested anonymity because the deal has not been formally completed. In his lone season at Florida International, Pitino led...

Report: Gophers to hire Richard Pitino

Minnesota has picked Richard Pitino, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, to take over for Tubby Smith. A person with knowledge of the discussions says Pitino reached a verbal agreement with Minnesota on Wednesday. The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been officially announced. In his lone season at Florida International, Pitino led the Panthers to an 18...

Rick Pitino says son is ready for Minnesota job

Louisville coach Rick Pitino says his son Richard is ''more than ready'' to take over as head coach at Minnesota. Pitino spoke to reporters in Atlanta on Thursday as his Cardinals prepare to face Wichita State in the Final Four this weekend. Richard Pitino agreed to a deal to coach the Golden Gophers on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Richard Pitino has just one year...

Richard Pitino to Get Minnesota Coaching Gig

((ht: Richard Pitino Wow! Really.... 30-year old Richard Pitino, son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, is moving on up in the coaching ranks. According to a report by Jeff Goodman of, the younger Pitino is expected to be named head coach at the University of Minnesota, replacing the fired Tubby Smith. Pitino just finished his...

Monday April, 8, 2013 Could Be A Magical Day For Rick Pitino

Monday April, 8, 2013 could be a great day for Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino. Not only could he be playing for his second national championship, but on Monday he’ll also find out if he’s been voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall-of-Fame. Pitino was on the ballot for the Hall of Fame last year, but was surprisingly snubbed. It’s hard to imagine him getting left...

Report: Rick Pitino Will Be Inducted Into Basketball Hall of Fame, Becomes 89th Coach Elected

Rick Pitino has been a part of something special with the Louisville Cardinals in 2013, and his impressive resume will carry him to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Pitino, who is one of  the winningest active coaches in college basketball, has more exciting news than just winning the Big East conference championship, a Final Four Bid, with a potential national championship in the cards...

Wichita St evens field against Final Four rivals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) The entire basketball program at Wichita State runs on what Louisville coach Rick Pitino makes in a single year, with money left over to purchase plenty of trophy cases for Final Four hardware. In an NCAA tournament driven by longshots and upsets, the Shockers are in many ways the oddball of the season's final weekend: They don't have a big-time football...

Tim Henderson "more than ready" for Cards

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino has said several times this season that he’s not afraid to use any player on his bench. With the injury to Kevin Ware, Pitino will likely have to turn to walk-on Tim Henderson. Cardinal Authority has a quick update on Henderson and his abilities.

Which Final 4 Team will win the National Championship?

On the eve of the Final 4, who’s going to win it all? That sounds like a good poll question. I’m sticking with the team I picked in just about every bracket I filled out, and that’s Louisville. I love their backcourt with Peyton Siva and Russ Smith. Of course Rick Pitino is the man at the helm and he’s one of the best in the business. Agree or Disagree? Go ahead and vote...

Beilein's Long Path

Louisville coach Rick Pitino isn't the only Final Four coach who got a break from Syracuse's Jim Boeheim. Michigan coach John Beilein impressed the Hall of Fame coach of the Orange a long time ago and that led to some impressive recommendations.

110 Sports Podcast: Tom Penders

Tom Penders, retired longtime college basketball coach, talks with Matt this week about the NCAA Tournament. They also discuss the offensive issues plaguing the game, UCLA's new coaching hire and the future for Arizona basketball. Among his observations: On the favorite to win the NCAA Tournament: "Louisville is the best team, and Rick Pitino knows how to use that depth...
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