Blog: Richard Pitino Welcomed to Gopher Family

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WATCH: Replay of Coach Pitino Press Conference | Photo Gallery

Gopher basketball players, media, staff and fans got their first look at new head coach Richard Pitino this morning. University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, Director of Athletics Norwood Teague and Pitino gave opening remarks before Pitino and Teague fielded questions from the media.
Go Gophers! Richard Pitino
Go Gophers!
Richard Pitino
Go Gophers!

Teague said that Pitino has all the key characteristics that he looked for during the coaching search. These qualities included "relentless" recruiting, ability to develop student-athletes on and off the court and ability to "manage and build this program to the highest level."

"I'm extremely excited about this opportunity," Pitino said. "Minnesota basketball has got one of the best traditions in all of college basketball."

Members of the Gopher basketball team, who sat in the first few rows during the press conference, met their new mentor earlier in the morning. Both coach and players are eager to get to know each other better.

"He really gave us a positive vibe," Austin Hollins said. "He's coming in, and he has a solid plan that he really wants to enforce. He knows what he wants to do. I think all the guys are going to be on board with that."

Before the media even started asking questions, Pitino already talked about the style of play he would like to implement with his new team.

"He really wants that hard-nosed defense up the court," Hollins said. "Then on offense, we're just going to run them down--a lot of pick-and-rolls, getting up and down, getting a lot of shots up."

After about half an hour of answering questions, Pitino did one-on-one interviews with local TV stations, along with Mike Grimm and Spencer Tollackson. Watch Grimm's exclusive interview above and by clicking here.

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