MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The University of Minnesota men’s basketball program and head coach Richard Pitino are parting ways.
Athletic Director Mark Coyle made the official announcement Monday night.READ MORE: Job In Jeopardy, Gophers' Pitino 'Not Waving The White Flag'
“I recently met with Richard and told him that we were moving in a different direction. Richard is a tremendous person and coach, and I want to thank him, Jill and their family for their commitment to Minnesota. We wish them well in their next endeavor,” Coyle said. “Decisions like this are never easy, but after evaluating this season and the previous eight years of our program under Richard, it is clear to me that new leadership is needed. We have one of the best practice facilities in the nation, a historic competition venue and a state that produces top-caliber talent. This is an extremely attractive job, and we will immediately start a nationwide search for our next head coach.”
Pitino, 38, shared a picture on Twitter Monday evening showing him and his children walking down a hall at the university.
“Always wanted to represent Minnesota the right way on a daily basis with class and integrity,” he said. “Thank you for a special 8 years. Fired up for what the future holds!
One of my favorite pictures. Always wanted to represent Minnesota the right way on a daily basis with class and integrity. Thank you for a special 8 years. Fired up for what the future holds! pic.twitter.com/mUgM8Dpao9
— Richard Pitino (@LoboCoachPitino) March 16, 2021
Since taking the helm as coach, Pitino took the program to two NCAA Tournament appearances and amassed a 141-123 overall record. However, the team has finished with a losing record four out of the eight years.
In early March, Pitino acknowledged his job was in jeopardy after another late-season fade for the team.
“It’s part of the profession. Of course it’s hard. Now, my kids are young enough that they don’t see it, but of course it’s hard,” Pitino said at the time. “But we’re not done yet. We’re not waving the white flag by any means. Yeah, we’ve had a couple bad days, and what do you do? You go to bed, wake up, dust yourself off and get back to work.”
Pitino is a reportedly a finalist for the New Mexico job — along with former Nebraska coach Tim Miles — and that a decision from that program on who will fill the opening should be made in the coming days.