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Gophers hire Pitino's son as coach

MINNEAPOLIS — Richard Pitino, the Florida International coach and son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, has agreed to take over at Minnesota.

Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague said Wednesday that the contract will be worked out this week and Pitino is expected to be introduced at a news conference by Friday.

Pitino, who turns 31 in September, also has been an assistant under his father at Louisville and at Florida under Billy Donovan. He replaces the fired Tubby Smith.

In his lone season at FIU, Pitino went 18-14, the first winning season in 13 years and a 10-win improvement over the final season under Isiah Thomas. The 11 wins in the Sun Belt were the school's most since joining the league in 1998-99.

"It's just a shocker that he left, especially with a great recruiting class coming in as well as some of the transfers that are going be playing for us next year," FIU senior guard Manny Nunez said. "We had one of the best seasons in FIU history, and we were going in the right direction. I'm just shocked he would leave right now."

Rebel sorry: Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson posted a letter on the school's website apologizing for some of his actions during the season. The junior led the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament but became known more for his exuberant celebrations and trash talking. Multiple media outlets reported he made an obscene gesture toward the crowd after a season-ending loss to La Salle. Henderson wrote he plays the game with "a lot of passion, and sometimes that passion boils over" and he "can take things too far."

Draft: Cal's Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12 player of the year, will skip his senior season. He scored a league-high 18.6 points per game.

Theus returns: Former NBA star Reggie Theus was hired as coach at Cal State Northridge, a Big West school. Theus coached New Mexico State from 2005-07 and was an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville from 2003-05. Currently, he coaches Los Angeles of the NBA's D-League.

NIT: Baylor faces Iowa in tonight's final at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Gophers hire Pitino's son as coach 04/03/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013 4:36pm]
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