Former Hopkins Coach Leads Race to be Pitino’s Next Assistant… and Recruiting is His Specialty

Photo: Fox Sports



Have you heard of Jeff Mailhot? I hadn’t either, until two days ago. If you aren’t from the Minneapolis area, with HUGE ties to the high school basketball community, he’s probably not a name that would ring a bell. He’s now the leading candidate to sit next to Richard Pitino, as his next assistant coach next season.

That tweet was the first time I had ever seen Jeff Mailhot’s name. Then, I saw him mentioned over at GopherIllustrated.com earlier today. I had to do some of my own digging after that…. and now I’m pretty convinced: Pitino and Coyle are on their way to hiring Mailhot.

Who is Jeff Mailhot?

Mailhot coached 2019 at Iona

Mailhot coached at Iona (which I knew from Doogie’s tweet). If you plan on doing any of your own research like me, make sure you include “basketball” when you type his name into Google. I’m glad nobody named Eric Strack has ever murdered anyone (that the internet is aware of).

Currently, Mailhot is Richard’s only candidate with steam for this job. Pitino needs to move on an assistant ASAP, too. We are in the middle of a huge recruiting period and kids are falling off the board everyday.

After some keyword adjustments in my search, I found a damn good article via the Sun News, from back when Mailhot was hired at New Mexico State in 2017. The article REALLY hits hard on his recruiting prowess… which admittedly gets me giddy. 

Not only is he known as a great recruiter… but he’s from Minneapolis, where he actually played and cut his coaching teeth at Hopkins High School. Jeff also spent time coaching at Robbinsdale-Cooper. Apparently, he was sending kids to the U of M, back when it was still the cool thing to do…


Jeff Mailhot (left) playing for Hopkins (2004) – Star Tribune (Getty Images)

No stranger to the recruiting trail, Mailhot has been able to recruit, develop and send over 35 players to Division I teams across the country. His most notable recruit was Jae Crowder, who was drafted in the second round (34th pick overall) by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012 and currently playing for the Boston Celtics.

Sun News

Mailhot earned his stripes as an assistant coach at the prep level, leading his alma mater Hopkins High School to the 2009 high school state championship during his second stop at HHS with an undefeated record of 29-0 and finished the season ranked No. 10 by USA Today. Between his two stints with the Royals, Mailhot was at Robbinsdale Cooper High School for the 2007-08 campaign where he coached a top-100 recruit that went on to play at Minnesota. While coaching at Hopkins High School, Mailhot saw eight players sign with Division I programs across the country.

Sun News

To conclude…. I didn’t know who Jeff Mailhot was 2 days ago. Now, I will be pissed off if Richard doesn’t hire him. 

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan