The University of Minnesota today announced that Head Men’s Basketball Coach Richard Pitino has agreed to a contract extension that adds one year to his existing agreement, placing him under contract with the University through the 2021-22 season. The extension will become official pending approval from the Board of Regents at its May meetings.
“Since I came back to Minnesota as the AD last May, I have been impressed with Coach Pitino and his management of our men’s basketball program,” said Athletics Director Mark Coyle. “I’ve seen accountability, commitment and focus from every student-athlete and member of the men’s basketball staff, led by Coach Pitino. The team’s success on the court this year generated a lot of excitement on campus and around the state. I’m looking forward to much more of that with Coach Pitino leading our program.”
“I am extremely grateful to be the head coach at such a prestigious university. My family and I love living in the Twin Cities and look forward to continuing to build a strong men’s basketball program on and off the court,” said Pitino. “I have loved getting to know and working with Mark Coyle this past year. Mark and President Kaler’s commitment to athletics is second to none. The future of Gopher basketball is very bright and I am excited to be a part of it.”
This contract extension comes after Pitino oversaw the greatest single-season turnaround of any Division I men’s basketball program last season, improving the Gophers’ win total by 16 and marking a return to the NCAA Tournament.
The Big Ten Coach of the Year as voted by the conference head coaches and media, Pitino led the Gophers to program records and achievements that had not been reached in decades. Under Pitino’s guidance, Minnesota set a new program record with 23 regular season victories. That total was driven, in part, by a 12-1 finish in non-conference play and eight straight Big Ten wins, the team’s longest conference winning streak since 1973. Four individual Gophers were recognized this year in All-Big Ten: first team selection Nate Mason, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Lynch, All-Big Ten third team honoree Jordan Murphy and All-Freshman Team member Amir Coffey.
“I am extremely pleased with the direction that our men’s basketball program is headed under Coach Pitino,” said University of Minnesota President Eric W. Kaler. “Last season’s success is just the beginning of a bright future for our team, and I have full faith that our student-athletes will continue to flourish under Coach Pitino’s guidance.”
Finishing 11-7 in conference play, the Gophers had their highest single-season Big Ten win total in the Big Ten since 1989-90. The Gophers placed fourth in the conference standings, their best finish in 12 years, and secured a coveted double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament for the first time in program history.
With 24 wins, the Gophers earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the program’s best in the past 35 years. Pitino will guide a roster next year that returns four starters and 12 contributors from what was among the nation’s youngest teams this past season, based on KenPom.com experience rankings.
One of the nation’s youngest head coaches and second-youngest at a Power 5 conference school, Pitino has posted a 75-61 overall record in his four seasons at the helm. He has presided over three winning seasons while at Minnesota, including a 25-13 team in 2013-14 that went on to win the National Invitation Tournament and set a school record for overall victories.