Classy move: Richard Pitino congratulates former assistant Ben Johnson on landing Minnesota job
Richard Pitino may not be the head coach at Minnesota any longer, but he’s still wishing the men’s basketball program and new head coach Ben Johnson plenty of success in the Twin Cities.
On Tuesday, Johnson was officially introduced as the next head coach of the program, replacing Pitino after eight seasons at the helm. Minnesota parted ways with Pitino following a second straight losing season and only two NCAA Tournament appearances during his eight years.
Johnson was a former assistant under Pitino at Minnesota, sitting on the Gophers bench from 2013-18. He was also a former player in the 2000s and was a two-time team captain after transferring in from Northwestern.
Pitino had nothing but well wishes for Johnson and the program.
“Congrats to my former assistant Ben Johnson on getting the [Minnesota basketball] gig. He will kill it there!” Pitino wrote on Twitter. “I taught him everything he needs to know. Especially about in state recruiting.”
As you might imagine, that last part was said jokingly.
Congrats to my former assistant Ben Johnson on getting the @GopherMBB gig. He will kill it there! I taught him everything he needs to know. Especially about in state recruiting 😂😂😂.
— Richard Pitino (@LoboCoachPitino) March 24, 2021
It’s a classy move from Pitino, and not one a lot of coaches would make.
While Minnesota begins a new era with Johnson at the helm, Pitino landed a new job a week ago, just a few hours after being fired by the Gophers. He is the new head coach for New Mexico and will begin his 10th season as a head coach at the Division I level.