U of M Skates Free On Richard Pitino’s Buyout + Ben Johnson Assistant Coach Updates

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It’s April 6, more than three weeks since Richard Pitino was fired from his post as men’s head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota. Before Pitino was fired, he found a soft landing as head coach at the University of New Mexico. That made his exit resemble more of a handoff than it did a forced exit.

The veil fooled nobody. Coyle and Co were triggering a clause in Richard’s contract that would ease the buyout owed to their head coach of eight seasons. Pitino’s hiring at New Mexico did more than ease the buyout, however. It erased it, according to Marcus Fuller of the Star Tribune.


The University of Minnesota owes no buyout money to former Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino under the terms of their separation agreement, obtained Wednesday by the Star Tribune.

The separation agreement says the U doesn’t have to pay any buyout for parting ways with Pitino, but he also doesn’t owe the university the $500,000 termination fee in his contract for departing to another school before April 30.

Marcus Fuller – Star Tribune

Assistant Coach Updates

Ben Johnson was hired about a week after Pitino was fired and his momentum was STEAMING out of the gates. He had the entire state of Minnesota on his side. But that head of steam has died down and a large part of its deflation is due to the slow assistant coach search.

Johnson still needs to hire three assistant coaches and college assistants are a big part of the recruiting process. That makes their lack of urgency a bit perplexing and incredibly maddening. It sounds like names will be announced soon but, at this point, we know more about who the assistants won’t be than who they will be.

Former Pitino assistant, Ed Conroy, is out and on his way to Vanderbilt. That means we can probably say goodbye to Liam Robbins, as well. He entered the transfer portal yesterday. Baylor special assistant and Minnesotan, Jared Nuness, won’t be on Ben Johnson’s coaching staff either.




Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan