Richard Pitino named FIU men’s basketball head coach

FIU Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia announced April 16 the hiring of Richard Pitino as the seventh head coach in the history of the FIU men’s basketball program.

Garcia announced the hiring of Pitino at a press conference at the U.S. Century Bank Arena.

“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to coach here at FIU,” Pitino said. “After speaking with FIU President Mark Rosenberg and Pete Garcia, I know that we share the same vision of success. I can’t wait to get started. I will pour my heart and soul into this program. FIU and the South Florida community are extremely attractive to student-athletes. I know we have a lot to offer both in the classroom and on the court. The sky is the limit with this university.”

Pitino comes to FIU after finishing his third season with the Louisville Cardinals where he served as the team’s associate head coach during the 2011-12 campaign. He spent two years (2007-08 and 2008-09) as an assistant coach for the Cardinals following two seasons with the Florida Gators (2009-10 and 2010-11).

“Richard Pitino is one of the top young coaching talents in the nation,” Garcia said. “We are looking forward to having him lead our men’s basketball team. His experience at such programs as Louisville, Florida and Providence will be invaluable toward our growth. He has had tremendous success with every team he has been associated with during his coaching career. Richard will be a great asset to our university and our basketball program.”

In his three years with the Cardinals, UofL produced a combined 88-25 record and reached the NCAA Elite Eight in both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons as well as the NCAA Final Four during the 2011-12 campaign. His efforts also helped the Cards land a pair of top 15 recruiting classes (’07-’08 and ’08-’09).

"First thing I wanted to do after signing the contract was meet the players," said Pitino.

“I’m delighted for Richard,” Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino said. “He has done great things for us here at Louisville. He has had a big impact on our program. Personally, I am going to miss him. Professionally, we are going to miss having him on our bench. His work ethic is second to none. FIU has made a great hire. ”

In his two seasons with the Gators, Florida was a combined 50-20 with back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including reaching the 2011 NCAA Southeast Regional finals before falling to NCAA runner-up Butler. The Gators won the 2011 Southeastern Conference championship and had a 29-7 overall record, ranking 10th in the final ESPN/USA Today poll and 15th by AP.

“It is great to have Richard back in the state of Florida,” Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan said. “FIU has hired a tireless worker and an excellent recruiter to build their program. I’m excited for Richard and I’m excited for FIU.”

Prior to his time at Louisville, Pitino was an assistant at Duquesne (2006-07) as well as at Northeastern (2005-06). He served as an administrative assistant at the College of Charleston (2004-05). Pitino earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Providence College in 2005.