It is time to stop asking if Richard Pitino was a good hire by the Minnesota Golden Gophers, not that school would change their minds before Pitino inked his deal just because someone said “no” or anything.
Still, folks want to figure out if the program made a good move before next season gets underway instead of waiting to see what the guy has got. Well, even though there are no games to be played, Pitino has won his first outing as the new head coach.
When Pitino was at his first presser as the Minnesota coach, he “won” the event. Not that it will earn him extra points to start the season or garner him a fictitious victory before he ever steps on the floor, but it may have started earning him the hearts and minds of Golden Gopher fans.
Pitino mentioned how he talked to his father, Rick Pitino, before taking the job. How, despite the elder Pitino’s friendship with Tubby Smith, that Junior would be crazy if he were to pass on the opportunity. Then, in a calculated move, Pitino made sure to mention how Minnesota can be a dominant force in college hoops.
That would be despite Pitino knowing they play in one of college hoop’s most outdated arenas, not having a solid booster who is willing to help construct a new practice facility, or the fact that Minnesota is not exactly a hot-bed for Division I basketball players.
Although, Pitino knew he was better off talking about the positives rather than stating the obvious — that Minnesota alum and fans didn’t want to hear about their real, underlying problems but would prefer to continue their journey of having unreasonable expectations.
Not only did Pitino do everything to satisfy their dreams, he did a great job of making it seem like he can help them all come true.
Personally, I think the Pitino hire was great. I have a feeling that whatever naysayers there are will end up changing their minds due to his charm. Hopefully they like them as quickly as possible though, as I also think he will bail on them as soon as another big-time job opens up.