Well, by now it's been widely circulated that Richard Pitino has accepted the head coaching job at FIU. Not a bad destination for his first head coaching gig, especially since judged against his predecessor, Isiah Thomas, merely getting out of his chair during a game will mark improvement.
Richard has connections in the area from his time at Florida, and will be bring Director of Basketball Operations Mark Lieberman, a FIU graduate, with him. Considering the mess Thomas left behind him, it'll be a long slog ahead, but I think Pitino is cagey enough to pull it off and turn that program around.
Of bigger concern around here is the hole that he leaves in the coaching ranks. Rick Pitino openly admitted (no doubt gaming the system in his son's favor a tad) how much he relied upon his son for opposition research and scouting. Many of the wrinkles added to UofL's schemes during games last year were credited to him afterwards.
Richard was integral to Louisville's run to the Final Four, and for that, will always be appreciated, followed and remembered around here.
The only negative attached to Richard Pitino's tenure were times in the uncertain past, when UofL's rollercoaster of fortunes had some fans experiencing nausea, and there was speculation that Rick Pitino was angling for Richard to fill the vacancy if and when he left the helm. Those (me included) thought this would be Pitino-overload and weren't keen on the idea.
But as we got to know him a little more in post-game pressers and open practices, his intelligence and charisma shined through. His mannerisms are uncanny in their likeness of his old man, and it became easier to see why players and colleagues spoke so highly of him.
He leaves behind a big hole on the staff. Whoever steps into his shoes must have big feet, like 6'10'' size feet. A deep voice too. Intact knees really aren't that important, but he has to be basketball-savvy and familiar with Rick Pitino's program. Know anybody like this?
Interesting article and comments section from the Miami Herald on Pitino's hiring here.
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About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
CliffySmalls is also known as Cliff Elliott. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.