Richard Pitino is a ‘Legit’ Candidate to Land Father’s Former Job at Louisville

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Former Minnesota Gophers coach Richard Pitino has recently completed one of the most successful seasons in his coaching career, guiding the New Mexico Lobos to an impressive 26-10 record, in his third season as their head coach.

Richard’s junior year in the desert included a Mountain West tournament championship that they needed to clinch a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, their journey ended in disappointing fashion, as a possible Cinderella team that instead bowed out in the first round vs Clemson. Still, mission success for Pitino & Co.

Richard Pitino a legit candidate for… Louisville?

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Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So, following his rapid turnaround of the Lobos program, Richard Pitino is looking to get back into the power five club of college basketball coaches. And guess where he’s reportedly the leading candidate?

Louisville, a school that his father once coached to an NCAA Championship in 2013 that was later vacated, after one of the craziest recruiting scandals in college history. This wouldn’t be Richard’s first time coaching for the Cardinals. He was an assistant coach there under his father from 2007 to 2009.

Since Rick Pitino’s departure in 2017, the Louisville basketball team has seen two different coaches at the helm. Chris Mack led the team from 2018 to 2022, followed by Kenny Payne from 2022 to 2024. Now, the job is back up for grabs, after Payne finished his career on campus with a 12-52 record.

Related: Firing Richard Pitino was a Mistake

The last NCAA tournament appearance for the Louisville Cardinals occurred during Chris Mack’s inaugural season in 2019. Ironically, they faced Richard Pitino’s Gophers in the first round, marking Pitino’s first and only tournament victory with the Golden Gophers.

Richard Pitino has been following in his father’s footsteps throughout his career. Should he decide to accept the Louisville job, he’ll be tasked with filling some significant shoes, given his father’s legendary coaching career with the Cardinals. While there’s no official confirmation yet, reports from Jeff Goodman suggest that such a move would indeed make sense.

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