Minnesota Golden Gophers Coach Richard Pitino Needs to Shine, Now
The Pitino family has had a solid run of success lately. The old man being announced as a future Hall of Fame inductee then winning a National Championship and his son, who got his second head coaching job, first at such a big program.
That is right, Richard Pitino going to the Minnesota Golden Gophers is a big deal, well, because he carries his father’s last name and the expectations that go with it.
The hire of the younger Pitino is smart. Even Billy Donovan, who recommended Shaka Smart to the VCU Rams, told Norwood Teague to give the 30 year-old the job. Teague did just that and the rest is possible history in the making.
Now, however, the time for the Pitino’s celebration has passed. Papa, Rick Pitino, is not going to rest on becoming the only coach to win two National Titles at two different schools. Instead, he will take a few weeks off and go back on the recruiting trail just looking to find some more players who will fit his style of play.
That is what his son will also be doing. While he doesn’t have the time other coaches have had in the country to recruit, Pitino has already garnered attention from some local prospects — local prospects, mind you, who may have not considered the Golden Gophers previously.
Pitino has a tough task ahead of him. Not only is he going to have to balance adjusting to a new gig, but he has to bring in a slew of new and talented players. With a few key players leaving, Pitino — who undoubtedly needs to win as soon as possible — needs to make sure he starts landing some big time recruits.
This won’t be an all or bust recruiting period for Pitino. Minnesota is not going to run him from town for not landing a top 15 class his first year with the team. However, after the firing of Tubby Smith and with Richard carrying his father’s last name, expectations have never been higher with the program.
Pitino has won the press conference. Now it is time to win the offseason — after that, well, the actual games.
Joseph is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone