ATLANTA — Rick Pitino said his son, Richard Pitino, is more than ready to coach in the Big Ten at Minnesota even though he’s only been a head coach for one season at Florida International.
“I did not recommend Richard, Billy Donovan did,” Pitino said here at the Final Four. “But I put in a call and I said I would not second that recommendation if I didn’t think he could not only succeed but do great things. So you don’t want your son in that situation, you want him to take his time.
“He is more than ready. I drove him harder than I drove Billy so he’s more than ready. What he did this year at Florida International, I never thought anybody could do. He took walk-ons, eight new players, he turned around the bad academic situation and won 18 games and was a bucket away from going to the NCAA in his first year.
“So he is ready to coach. I feel bad that I drove him that hard, now I’m very happy I did.”
Richard Pitino was hired Wednesday to replace Tubby Smith, who was fired last week after six seasons at Minnesota which included three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Kimani Young, a Pitino assistant at FIU, will follow the coach to Minnesota.