Norwood Teague earned his reputation plucking unknown coaches out of obscurity, and with his first hire at the University of Minnesota, he has done it once again. Richard Pitino, 30 year old son of another Richard Pitino, will be the next Golden Gophers basketball coach after one season at Florida International.
Pitino’s only season leading the Golden Panthers ended one win short of the NCAA tournament, but considering his team was decimated by defections after the ruinous reign of Isaiah Thomas, it was a miraculous turnaround. Prior to coaching at FIU, Pitino was an assistant coach at Louisville and Florida.
The Big Ten is obviously a whole new ball game, and the younger Pitino will have his work cut out for him. These hires can work, as Marquette found out when they picked Buzz Williams as their coach after only one season at New Orleans. Teague also hired an obscure assistant named Shaka Smart to coach at VCU. The key to Pitino’s success at Minnesota will be dependent on hiring assistant coaches. We’ll be following that story closely.
If Norwood Teague is anything, he is bold, and he may have staked his career on this hire. This should not be construed as a quick fix, and Pitino’s youth should lead to a long career, if he is successful.