New Mexico Lobos hire Richard Pitino as men’s basketball coach

Richard Pitino was unemployed for less than one day.

Pitino, who was fired by Minnesota on Monday night, was named the next head coach at New Mexico on Tuesday.

“It is a great day for Lobo Basketball and for everyone who loves our program and our University,” athletic director Eddie Nunez said in a statement announcing Pitino’s hiring. “Richard Pitino is a proven winner with a track record of success on the court, including deep tournament runs and wins over nationally ranked programs, as well as proven success off the court by creating a tremendous student-athlete experience and supporting them as they earn their degrees.”

Pitino, 38, spent eight seasons at Minnesota, going to two NCAA tournaments. The Golden Gophers finished one game below .500 in each of the past two seasons and lost seven straight games to end this past regular season, falling out of NCAA tournament contention.

“My wife Jill, our children and I are very excited to join the Lobo Family,” Pitino said in the statement. “I want to extend my sincere thanks to President Stokes, Eddie Nuñez and David Williams for extending this opportunity. Lobo Basketball holds a special place in the hearts of New Mexicans, and I cannot wait to get started.”

Before taking over the Golden Gophers, Pitino spent one season as the head coach at FIU and was an assistant coach at Louisville, Florida, Duquesne, Northeastern and Charleston.

Pitino replaces Paul Weir, who was fired after four seasons in Albuquerque. The Lobos haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 2014.

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