Proud father says son is 'more than ready' for Gophers job

9:41 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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Richard Pitino photo by USA Today Sports Images

MINNEAPOLIS - Richard Pitino, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, will be the next head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

"I am super excited for him," Rick Pitino said when asked about his son's opportunity in Minnesota. Rick and his Louisville team arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday for the Final Four.

Richard Pitino, who led Florida International to 18 victories in his first season as a head coach, has agreed in principle to a deal to replace Smith with the Gophers, according to Director of Athletics Norwood Teague.

Teague said the terms of the agreement will be finalized later this week. A news conference will offer further details, Teague added.

"He's more than ready for it," Rick Pitino said. "From the time he was 15, I groomed him for it."

He was previously an assistant to his dad at Louisville and at Florida with Billy Donovan.

"He doesn't have a strong, long resume yet, but I think Minnesota is taking a chance on young, up-and-coming guy," said USA Today college basketball reporter Nicole Auerbach.

In his lone season at Florida International, Richard Pitino led the Panthers to an 18-14 record, the school's first winning season in 13 years.

"I think this is the kind of guy that Athletic Director Norwood Teague wanted. He's hired young coaches who are on the rise. He hired Shaka Smart at VCU and obviously that worked out pretty well," said Auerbach. "It's a high-risk, high-reward situation."

Pitino will turn 31 in September, fitting the profile of the young, up-and-comer that Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague has preferred to hire in the past.

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