It was reported on Monday that Pitino was a “co-leader” for the New Mexico. The other candidate for the job was former Nebraska head coach Tim Miles. Well, the Lobos didn’t even need a full 24 hours to make their decision.
According to college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, New Mexico is hiring Pitino as its next head coach.
“New Mexico has hired Richard Pitino as its next head basketball coach,” Rothstein tweeted. “Official announcement expected soon.”
Sources: New Mexico has hired Richard Pitino as its next head basketball coach. Official announcement expected soon.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 16, 2021
The Lobos decided to move on from Paul Heir after a disappointing 6-16 season. He finished his tenure at New Mexico with a 58-63 record.
Pitino is coming off an underwhelming season with Minnesota, but he provides a lot of upside for New Mexico. Not only is he just 38 years old, he has nine years of head coaching experience.
Before taking the Minnesota job, Pitino went 18-14 in his first year with the FIU Panthers. That inspired the Golden Gophers to extend an offer to him in 2013.
Over the course of his career at Minnesota, Pitino owned a 141-123 record. His best season came in 2019 when he led the Golden Gophers to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.
We’ll see if Pitino can revitalize a New Mexico program that hasn’t made it to the NCAA tournament since the 2013-14 season.