Pitino: 'Sky is the limit here'


Richard Pitino was introduced Friday as the Gophers men's basketball coach, replacing Tubby Smith.

"We have an opportunity to win, and win at a high level," Pitino told reporters at Williams Arena. "I truly believe the sky is the limit here."

The replay of the entire 38-minute news conference can be seen right here, via Gophersports.com.

Pitino will be paid $1.2 million per year for six years, according to a statement released by the University. Among the incentives: a $50,000 bonus if the Gophers finish with a winning record in the Big 10, according to the Star Tribune.

Pitino, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, shot down a question about this just being a stepping stone for another job.

“This is absolutely the place I want to be," he said. "I believe this is one of the top basketball jobs in the country.”

Pitino leaves his job as head basketball coach at Florida International University, where he led FIU to its first winning season in 13 years. His hire came after the U was reportedly turned down by VCU's Shaka Smart and former Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, among others.

“The search really went well, and it progressed as we had planned," Gophers athletics director Norwood Teague said. "We wanted to find the right fit, and we did. We got really lucky with this guy. He is the perfect fit for the University of Minnesota.”

As for going head to head for recruits against his more-famous father: "I'm extremely excited to go head to head with my father," Pitino said. "It's game on in my mind. I hope he fights fair."

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