With March ending and April beginning, the NCAA college basketball coaching carousel is firing up and the rumors and reports are running rampant around Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino once again.
The Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno reports that Alabama is the latest school that has expressed interest in the second-year Gophers coach and it seems the two sides have been talking.
Alabama athletic director Bill Battle fired former coach Anthony Grant two weeks ago. Multiple reports indicate that Battle has been heavily pursuing Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall as Alabama's first choice.
The link between Pitino and Alabama can be traced back to his father's connection to former Alabama basketball coach C.M. Newton. The Decatur Daily notes that when Newton was athletic director at Kentucky in 1989 he hired Rick Pitino to coach the Wildcats.
This is the second straight year that Richard Pitino's name has popped up on the coaching rumor mill. He led the Gophers to an NIT Championship during his first season with Minnnesota in 2013-2014. But Minnesota got off to an 0-5 start in the Big Ten last fall and finished this season with a disappointing 18-15 record – missing the NCAA and NIT altogether.
Since then WCCO notes Pitino has been spending most of his time on the recruiting trail for Minnesota.
In his blog on the Gophers website, Pitino said he's excited about the incoming 2015 recruiting class, which is already ranked in the top 30 in the country, and includes Jarvis Johnson of Minneapolis' De La Salle High School, as well as Dupree McBrayer, Kevin Dorsey and Jonathan Nwankwo.