The University of Wisconsin is eyeing University of Minnesota head men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino to replace longtime coach Bo Ryan when the latter retires at the end of the 2015-16 season. Patrick Reusse of 1500 ESPN in Minnesota reported the development.
This is certainly an interesting development, as the 67-year-old Ryan announced today that he would step down after next year with the hope that longtime assistant Greg Gard would succeed him. It seems that Wisconsin AD and former football coach Barry Alvarez has other ideas.
Though Gard does know Ryan’s system and would make for an easier transition into a new head coaching era, Pitino is at least 10 years younger at 32 years of age and already has head coaching experience, not to mention success.
After working as an assistant at top programs like Florida and Louisville, the latter of which is coached by his Hall of Fame father Rick, Pitino got his first head coaching job with Florida International and led the Panthers to a mark of 18-14 (11-9 Sun Belt). A year later, he got the job at Minnesota and won the NIT in his first season.
Across three seasons, Pitino is 61-42 with a future that is only going to get brighter.
Thus, though having Gard take over for Ryan may be ideal in the eyes of some, it’s hard to pooh-pooh Alvarez’s reasoning for potentially targeting Pitino. He has accomplished a lot at a young age, is earning a reputation as a good recruiter, and is of a fine pedigree in that his father is a Hall of Famer with two national championships and seven trips to the Final Four on his resume.
Long story short, the younger Pitino knows his stuff.
This development is still in the early stages and nothing is official yet, but Campus Sports will update it as more information becomes available.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports