New Mexico Lobos Hire Richard Pitino; Here’s Who Could Replace Him In Minnesota

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The Gophers are looking for a new men’s basketball coach for the first time since the program hired Richard Pitino in 2013.

University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle announced Monday evening that the school and Pitino had parted ways.

“I recently met with Richard and told him that we were moving in a different direction,” Coyle said. “Richard is a tremendous person and coach, and I want to thank him, Jill and their family for their commitment to Minnesota. We wish them well in their next endeavor.”

Pitino spent about 12 hours without a job, as he has already been hired by New Mexico.

Here are 10 potential candidates to replace Pitino in Minnesota:

Brian Dutcher

The 62-year-old head coach of San Diego State currently earns $1.2 million annually and has a buyout of $1 million, the StarTribune reports. He’s made it to one NCAA Tournament as a head coach.

“Dutcher enters his fourth season as head coach after three years in which he led the Aztecs to three Mountain West title games, their conference-record 11th and 12th Mountain West titles and back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2015,” the school’s website reads. “He is the only coach in the 99-year history of San Diego State men’s basketball to win at least 20 games in each of his first three seasons at the helm of the program.”

The article states he is the son of former Gophers coach Jim Dutcher.

Eric Musselman

The 56-year-old head coach at Arkansas currently brings home $2.5 million and has a buyout of $5 million through April 30, which drops to $1.5 million on May 1, the article details. He’s made it to three NCAA Tournaments as a head coach.

“The son of former Gophers and Timberwolves coach Bill Musselman has led the Razorbacks back to national prominence in his second season with a No. 8 national ranking and seven straight wins to end the regular season,” the StarTribune reports. “He also led Nevada to the Sweet 16 in 2018.”

Anthony Grant

The 54-year-old head coach at Dayton currently earns $1.6 million and has a buyout that isn’t reported, per the StarTribune. He’s made it to four tournaments as a head coach.

“After leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record (18-0 in A-10), Grant was named national coach of the year last season,” the article details. “Grant’s top player, Obi Toppin, was also named national player of the year before becoming a lottery pick. Before a six-year stint at Alabama didn’t work out, he led VCU to two NCAA tournaments in three years.”

Craig Smith

The 48-year-old head coach at Utah State currently earns $775,000 and has a buyout of $775,000 before March 31, the StarTribune reports. He’s made it to two NCAA Tournaments as a head coach.

“The Stephen, Minn. native became a hot name at the midmajor level after he led the Aggies to their first NCAA Tournament since 2011 in his first season,” the article details. “Smith, who also coached at South Dakota and NAIA Division II Mayville (N.D.), signed a new contract in February through 2026.”

Dennis Gates

The 41-year-old head coach at Cleveland State earns a salary of $305,000 per year and has a buyout of $600,000 before April 1, but it drops to $300,000 after, the article states. He’s made it to one NCAA Tournament as a head coach.

“A former Florida State assistant under Leonard Hamilton, Gates already put together an impressive résumé in just two seasons, including back-to-back Horizon League coach of the year honors,” the StarTribune reports. “The Vikings reached their first NCAA Tournament since 2009 this year.”

Niko Medved

The 47-year-old head coach at Colorado State has not yet made it to the Big Dance as a head coach. He currently earns $775,000 in salary and has a $937,000 buyout, the StarTribune reports.

“The Minneapolis native and former Gophers assistant established a history of turning around programs during his stops at Furman, Drake and now Colorado State,” the article reads. “The Rams won a school-record 14 conference games, and he was named Mountain West coach of the year by the media this year.”

Porter Moser

The 52-year-old head coach at Loyola-Chicago currently makes $1.1 million, the StarTribune reports. His buyout is not reported. He’s made it to two NCAA Tournaments as a head coach.

“[Moser’s] keen recruiting eye and proven experience in developing men both on and off the court has resulted in three postseason berths, a NCAA Final Four appearance, 12 all-conference selections, two MVC Player of the Year honorees, two Associated Press Honorable Mention All-Americans, two Academic All-Americans, a MVC Defensive Player of the Year, two MVC Sixth Man of the Year honorees and a pair of MVC Freshman of the Year selections, just to scratch the surface,” the school’s website reads.

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Written by Megan Turner

Megan graduated from the University of Central Florida and writes and tweets about anything related to sports. She replies to comments she shouldn't reply to online and thinks the CFP Rankings are absolutely rigged. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


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  1. I don’t see Musselman making what amounts to a sideways move. Arkansas has a history of success, and WITH him they can become a perennial power that challenges the traditional Kentucky-Florida duopoly that has run the SEC the last 25 years.

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