Pitino assistant turned life around after serving time in 2000

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Newly hired University of Minnesota basketball coach Richard Pitino has tapped an assistant coach who served a year in federal prison after being found with 96 pounds of marijuana in Texas in 1999, local media report.

U of M athletic director Norwood Teague knows all about Kimani Young's record, which Young has used as a cautionary tale for young athletes. Young, 39, turned his life around and joined Pitino's staff last season at Florida International, the Pioneer Press reports.

"[U of M] President Eric Kaler and I each spoke at length with college presidents and athletics directors at schools employing Coach Young and received assurances that Kimani was a positive influence and leader for their programs and student-athletes," Teague said in a statement.

Young talked to the Star Tribune about the incident in July 1999, a year after the former University of Texas-El Paso basketball star graduated, which seems very long ago to him now. He tells a story of how he has led a life of purpose and energy since he was released.

“I don’t know who that person is. I really don’t," he said. "It’s just amazing. When that comes up and I look back and I kind of reflect back on that time, I was just a kid that was lost and didn’t have the answers to the test.”

Young will be paid $185,000 per year, according to the Pioneer Press. That's a higher salary than any assistant coach earned on Tubby Smith's staff.

The U has Young's bio.

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