Minnesota Golden Gophers head men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino has received a contract extension that will keep him with the university through the 2020-21 season and he will earn $1.6 million annually. The university announced the extension, which was reported by Rob Dauster of NBC Sports’ College Basketball Talk.
Pitino, son of Hall of Famer and Louisville head coach Rick, addressed his extension with gratitude, as the new deal will pay him $1.6 million a year.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity given to me by President Kaler, Beth Goetz and the University of Minnesota,” said Pitino. “Being the basketball coach at this tremendous university is something I cherish every day. My family and I love living in the Twin Cities and we look forward to continuing to build this basketball program the right way.”
Pitino also recently appeared in a radio interview on ESPN 1500 and addressed former AD Norwood Teague, who recently stepped down amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
“It’s very difficult because Norwood hired me,” Pitino told ESPN 1500 in an interview on Tuesday, which was transcribed by the Pioneer Press. “I can’t ignore the fact that he gave me an unbelievable opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He believed in me when I hadn’t done a lot. I was only a head coach for one year. So that’s something I will never forget. That’s something I will always be gracious of and appreciative of that opportunity because I get to coach in the Big Ten. A lot of that had to do with him.”
“But with that being said, it’s such a difficult situation. You read all those things, and hopefully he’s getting help if he does have issues. For everybody that is involved, it’s just very, very difficult.”
In two years with the program, Pitino has gone 43-28 (14-22 Big Ten) and led Minnesota to an NIT championship his first season. Since then, he has become a strong recruiter and can hopefully bring the team back to the NCAA Tournament and make significant progress there.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports