Installment #6 of MOAM's blog series featuring former student managers now achieving success in their professional careers.
Professional: Richard Pitino
Current Title: Head Men’s Basketball Coach – University of Minnesota
Student Manager Experience: Student Manager – Providence College Men’s Basketball
Career Notes: Born into a basketball family, it was only a matter of time before Richard Pitino would follow in his father’s, Rick Pitino, footsteps and lead a Division I basketball program. Dating back to his time at Providence College as a student manager, Richard was always very involved in the world of basketball. While pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in History and working with the Friar’s Men’s Basketball Program, Richard worked in Barrington, RI for Saint Andrew’s School where he was an Assistant Coach for the Boys’ Basketball Team.
Upon graduation from Providence in 2005, Richard took a position with Northeastern University. He was an Assistant Coach working under Head Coach Ron Everhart. When Coach Everhart moved to Duquesne University, Richard followed and became an Assistant Coach for the Dukes Men’s Basketball Program.
After a year with the Dukes, Richard moved to the University of Louisville to work under his father as an Assistant Coach. During his two years at Louisville, the Cardinals compiled a record of 58-15 and reached the Elite Eight both seasons. Thanks in large part to his efforts, Louisville landed a top 15 recruiting class in both years.
Following the two successful seasons at Louisville, Richard was able to join the University of Florida Gators staff as an Assistant Coach. Over his two years in Gainesville, the Gators, and Head Coach Billy Donovan, had a record of 50-20. In each of the seasons, Florida reached the NCAA Tournament and in 2011 they reached the NCAA Southwest Regional final before falling to Butler, eventual NCAA runner-up.
Richard’s success helped him land back at Louisville for the 2011-12 season, this time as the Associate Head Coach. It was another successful year for both Louisville and Richard, as the Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Final Four on their way to a 30-win season.
A one-year reunion with Louisville was all that Richard needed to take the next step. Richard became the 7th Head coach in Florida International University Men’s Basketball history on April 16, 2012. In just one season with FIU, Richard was able to completely turn around the program. The Panthers won 18 games (the most since 1997-98), and had their first winning season since 1999-00, finishing with an 18-14 record. FIU barely missed the NCAA Tournament, but Richard’s success was not overlooked.
On April 5, 2013, Richard was hired as the 17th Head Coach in the University of Minnesota Men’s Basketball history. Richard’s quick rise through the coaching ranks can be attributed to his work ethic and dedication to the game that he learned while building his foundation as a student manager.
Recently, Managers On A Mission caught up with Richard and was able to ask him a few questions:
1. What advice would you offer to current student managers?
The advice I would offer current student managers is to make an impact on the program. Go into work each day with NO ego. Great managers separate themselves by always being willing to work at all times. I encourage our guys to get involved in every possible aspect. A good manager can impact a program a lot more then they think.
2. How did being a manager help you get to where you are today?
Being a manager my last two years of college taught me that I could get a lot out of it as long as I put a lot into it. I was always looking to get involved from a film breakdown aspect. I would make edits of our oppositions as well as scouting reports. I was lucky to work for a head coach that gave me a lot of freedom.
3. What is your biggest takeaway from your experience as a student manager that remains with you to this day?
My biggest takeaway was to constantly try to bring value to the program every day. Even if I didn't have specific work to do, I always tried to create work. There is always something that can be done to better your program on a daily basis.
4. What was your favorite memory from being a student manager? Why?
My favorite memory from working at Providence College was working with Ryan Gomes every day. He was always eager to get into the gym.
5. Who have been your key influences during your career?
My key influences during my career were my father, Rick Pitino (Head Coach at Louisville) and Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan.
To God Be The Glory!