College basketball is often a family affair as brothers from across the nation usually find themselves competing against each other every year. NCAAB is a league where tradition is ripe and family competition is always evident but the Minnesota Golden Gophers newest head coach is making waves already.
Richard Pitino is only 30-years-old and his father, Rick Pitino, is currently coaching the Louisville Cardinals to their second straight Final Four. The Cardinals have been good underneath Pitino, however his son could be rivaling the Cardinals reign in just a few seasons.
Minnesota was unable to reach the sweet 16 this year, but with Pitino’s fresh face now in the fold, perhaps they can change that in 2013. The Gophers play in the always difficult Big 10 conference, so you can bet Richard will be on the phone with his father quite a bit. While with the Florida International Golden Panthers, Pitino led the squad to their first winning season in 13 years–Richard has just one year of head coaching experience underneath his belt.
Many think that Richard got the job simply because of his last name, but keep in mind that the Athletic Director Norwood Teague has a history of making great moves at head coach. Teague is the one responsible for the VCU Rams hiring Shaka Smart in 2009–this would go down as one of the best moves in NCAA history as the Rams made in to the Final Four in 2011 and Smart is one of the better coaches in the nation.
A college basketball fan can only hope that someday the Pitino brothers square off in the National Championship game and provide a much needed sequel to the unforgettable HarBowl.