ESPN: Pitino among 'realistic candidates' for Tennessee job

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Let the Richard Pitino rumors begin.

The head coach of the Golden Gophers men's basketball team is back in the rumor mill regarding coaches that could end up at Tennessee. As ESPN's Jeff Goodman wrote, Pitino is among eight coaches he considers "realistic candidates" to take over the Volunteers.

Tennessee fired head coach Donnie Tyndall on Friday after his name was tied to possible NCAA violations during his time at Southern Mississippi.

Of those eight names, Goodman writes that Pitino is his top choice.

"He's done a good job at Minnesota, especially when you factor in what he inherited from the Tubby Smith regime. The Golden Gophers won the NIT in his first season, and while some may view this year (the team went 18-15) as a disappointment, he really didn't have that much talent to work with. Pitino is young and while he doesn't have the energy of a Pearl, he has a personality that would work in Knoxville." 

Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press adds that Pitino's name was in the Tennesssee coaching rumor mill last year as well, but he wasn't a top choice then and probably isn't now.

In his most recent blog at GopherSports.com, Pitino said he and the team are "excited about next season and beyond." He has not addressed the latest speculation.

But Tennessee isn't the only school tied to Pitino. St. John's has popped up a couple of times, too.

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