Tubby replaced Rick, Richard replaces Tubby

So, it appears Tubby Smith can’t escape the Pitino mystique.
Richard Pitino, son of Louisville coach Rick, has been hired by Minnesota to replace Smith as its head basketball coach.
Tubby, of course, replaced Rick Pitino at Kentucky om 1997 when Pitino bolted for his second NBA job with the Boston Celtics. He had previously coached the New York Knicks before taking jumping to the Wildcats in 1989.
Tubby left Lexington after 10 seasons to coach the Gophers, realizing he had worn out his welcome with UK fans after winning only one national title.
The younger Pitino’s rise to a Big Ten job has been astonishingly quick. He parted ways from his dad’s Louisville staff a year ago to coach Florida International. He led the Panthers to an 18-14 record, the school’s first winning season in 13 years and something FIU couldn’t accomplish under Isiah Thomas.
Pitino, 30, apparently impressed Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague in an interview earlier this week.
Smith led Minnesota three NCAA tournaments, including this season when the Gophers knocked off UCLA in a second-round game, before the Gophers lost to Florida to finish with a 21-13 record. His lack of Big Ten success apparently was his undoing. He was 124-81 overall in six seasons but only 46-62 in the Big Ten.
Richard Pitino wasn’t Teague’s first choice. Shaka Smart at VCU, Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg and former NBA coach and former Minnesota player Flip Saunders were among about a half dozen candidates who were interviewed and offered the job first.

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About Randy Beard

Randy Beard has been at the Courier & Press since 2007 and became the sports editor in 2012. He has previously been a sports editor at the Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat. He began his professional sports journalist career in 1976 and has spent his career primarily covering college sports in the ACC, SEC and Big Ten. He's also covered the NFL, the original North American Soccer League and professional tennis and golf. He's covered two Super Bowls, three college football national championship games, dozens of NCAA basketball tournament games, an Olympics, a World Cup and once hung out with soccer legend George Best for two days and sat in a golf cart with Jan Stephenson.

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