Richard Pitino, son of Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino, is currently finalizing a deal to take over the Florida International Golden Panthers from the recently fired Isiah Thomas. Thomas was fired after going 26-65 in three seasons.
FIU is hoping the hiring of a young assistant will energize the team into relevance, similarly to the way Mario Cristobal brought the football team to national relevance, as in people know they exist now and have won a Bowl Game. The younger Pitino, who was an assistant for his dad last season (and two seasons before a stint at Florida), is 29 and has been an assistant for 8 years.
Dad is proud of his son, but is a little sad to see him go.
“You know I’m delighted, but I’m going miss (him) terribly,” Rick Pitino said. “I think one of the great things in 35 years of coaching was spending three years with him. Watch him grow as a basketball coach, and you sort of don’t want it to end.”
“It’s his opportunity,” Rick Pitino said. “It was his decision, not that I was against it. But I would have loved to been with him a few more years.”
As a graduate of FIU, I hope he has some success putting my alma mater on the map. Cristobal has done a great job making FIU something besides “the school where Ned with the Crutches jumped into the brawl with Miami”, and hopefully Pitino can do some good things for the Golden Panthers.