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And it begins: Pitino's name pops up in South Florida coaching rumor

Richard Pitino's name has surfaced in what looks like a crazy report about South Florida's coaching search.
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We have to imagine Richard Pitino would consider this take by Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel incredibly random.

Thamel wrote a story about potential head coaching vacancies in college basketball and he tied Pitino's name to the University of South Florida, which is expected to hire a new head coach after the season.

Thamel says South Florida "should be able to lure" a solid coaching candidate, while "some in the industry" speculate that the school has already found its next coach.

"Minnesota’s Richard Pitino is one possibility, along with Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard and former Alabama coach Anthony Grant. Monmouth’s King Rice, Florida Gulf Coast’s Joe Dooley, Chattanooga’s McCall and Forbes could all fit. Miami assistant Chris Caputo makes sense if the school attempts the high-major assistant route again."

According to a Tampa Bay Times article from January, "Pitino is believed to have wanted the gig in the past (and still might)."

"We are not going to comment on any coaching rumors," a Gophers spokesperson said in an email to GoMN. 

From afar, the only thing enticing about South Florida right now is the weather.

South Florida's basketball program is being probed by the NCAA for reported academic violations and they don't play in a Power Five conference. Instead, they're dead last in the American Conference.

Pitino leaving Minnesota – which is clearly on the rise and will have brand new athletic facilities next year – for a mid-major program with a ton of issues is flat out crazy talk.

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