Richard Pitino had an extremely hectic morning but was “excited as can be” to take over for Tubby Smith as Gophers basketball coach, Pitino’s friend and former colleague, Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, said Wednesday, April 3.
The University of Minnesota announced an agreement in principle with Pitino, the Florida International coach, to replace Smith, who once succeeded Pitino’s father as Kentucky coach. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“We spoke a little bit earlier in the day,” said Masiello, who worked with Pitino as an assistant for Pitino’s father, Rick, at Louisville. “But he’s kind of been going nonstop, going all over the place.”
The 30-year-old Richard Pitino led Florida International to an 18-14 record
(11-9 in the Sun Belt Conference) this season, his first as a head coach. It was the school’s first winning season in 13 years. The Panthers advanced to the Sun Belt tournament championship game but fell just short of reaching the NCAA tournament after losing to Western Kentucky.