“It’s a great day for Lobo Basketball and for everyone who loves our program and our University,” said athletic director Eddie Nunez in a statement on Tuesday.
Nunez was referring to his hiring of Richard Pitino to be the next New Mexico Lobos head basketball coach, replacing Paul Weir, whom UNM parted with following the end of the season last week.
Pitino, 38, the son of Iona coach, and former Kentucky and Louisville coach, Rick Pitino, spent the last eight seasons as the head coach at Minnesota, accruing a record of 141-123, while going 54-96 in the Big Ten. The Gophers went 14-15 this season, 6-14 in the Big Ten. His Gophers made the NCAA Tournament twice, and won the NIT during his first season as the head coach.
Prior to his time at Minnesota, Pitino spent one season as the head coach at Florida International, going 18-14. He has also spent time as an assistant coach at College of Charleston, Northeastern, Louisville and Florida.
Pitino takes over a program that went 6-16 this season under Weir, and has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2014, under then head coach Craig Neal.