Feb 1, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Gophers head coach Richard Pitino reacts in the second half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Williams Arena. Northwestern wins 55-54. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Vols Coaching Rumors: Richard Pitino A Good Fit?

 

Apr 3, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach Richard Pitino holds the net after defeating the Southern Methodist Mustangs 65-63 in the 2014 NIT Tournament championship game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Who will Tennessee select as their next head basketball coach?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind as we head into the Easter weekend and no one seems to have any inkling as to who that person will be.

Richard Pitino, the current head coach at Minnesota, is a guy that’s on the Vols’ shortlist of candidates, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

Pitino is instantly recognizable because of his name. He’s the son of legendary Louisville (and former Kentucky) head coach Rick Pitino.

But the younger Pitino (who is only 31 by the way) hasn’t got to where he is just because of his name.

No, this kid can actually coach.

Career coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
FIU Panthers (Sun Belt Conference) 
2012–2013 FIU 18–14 11–9 5th (East)
 
Minnesota Golden Gophers 
2013–2014 Minnesota 25–13 8–10 7th NIT Champions
 
Total: 43–27 (.614)

Pitino only has two years of head coaching experience, but he’s fielded a winning team in both of those seasons.

This past season he replaced Tubby Smith (who earlier in his career replaced Rick Pitino at Kentucky) and responded by leading his team to 25 wins and a NIT championship.

Minnesota was a team squarely on the bubble and was undoubtedly crushed when they found out they weren’t making the NCAA tournament. Pitino was able to keep his players focused and beat a SMU team that was robbed of a tournament bid for the NIT championship.

Pitino isn’t the flashiest guy in the world (something that is apparently very important to Tennessee fans), but he’s got plenty of youthful energy.

The Vols aren’t going to land a big named guy like Gregg Marshall or Shaka Smart. They’d be wise to go after a up-and-comer like Rick Pitino.

They may have their work cut out for them, however, if they plan on making a serious run at Pitino. Some media outlets have reported that he’s not interested in the UT job.

Of course we all know nothing is ever final in coaching searches.I believe Pitino is still in play for the Vols.

Tags: Basketball Tennessee Volunteers

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