Minneapolis, MN – The University of Minnesota has hired Richard Pitino as the school’s next men’s basketball coach.
Pitino, the son of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, will replace Tubby Smith, who was fired on March 25 after six seasons.
The 30-year-old recently completed one season as the head coach at Florida International. He led the Panthers to an 18-14 record and an 11-9 mark in the Sun Belt Conference, which included an appearance in the tournament title game. It was FIU’s first winning season in 13 years.
Prior to his stint with the Panthers, Pitino spent the 2011-12 season with his father at Louisville and was the team’s associate head coach. He also served as an assistant coach for the Cardinals from 2007-09 before joining the staff at Florida as an assistant from 2009-11. His other coaching stints include working at Duquesne and Northeastern.
Former Golden Gophers coach Smith, who was hired to lead Texas Tech’s men’s basketball program on Monday, led Minnesota to a record of 21-13 this past season, which concluded in the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a 78-64 loss to Florida.
The Gophers were 124-81 and never had a losing season under Smith, who signed a contract extension through the 2016-17 season last July.
Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague has a history of success in hiring and working with young coaches — including VCU’s Shaka Smart and Alabama’s Anthony Grant.