Richard Pitino has nothing but appreciation for his time at Minnesota. Even though the head coach and school are parting ways after eight seasons, Pitino was thankful for the opportunity.

Athletic director Mark Coyle announced on Monday night that the program was moving on from Pitino. When the news became official, the former head coach of the Golden Gophers released a short statement on Twitter.

“One of my favorite pictures,” Pitino said, speaking of a photo he posted of him with his children. “Always wanted to represent Minnesota the right way on a daily basis with class and integrity. Thank you for a special 8 years. Fired up for what the future holds!”

“I recently met with Richard and told him that we were moving in a different direction. Richard is a tremendous person and coach, and I want to thank him, Jill and their family for their commitment to Minnesota,” Coyle said in a statement. “We wish them well in their next endeavor.

“Decisions like this are never easy, but after evaluating this season and the previous eight years of our program under Richard, it is clear to me that new leadership is needed. We have one of the best practice facilities in the nation, a historic competition venue and a state that produces top-caliber talent. This is an extremely attractive job, and we will immediately start a nationwide search for our next head coach.”

Pitino was the head coach at Minnesota from 2013-21, compiling a 141-123 record over eight seasons. He guided the Gophers to three postseason appearances — winning the NIT championship in 2014 and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2017 and 2019.

Minnesota was on track to earn a spot into the tournament field again this season, sitting at 13-7 with quality wins over Michigan, Iowa and Purdue on the resume. However, the Gophers lost seven straight games to close out the regular season, ending 13-14.

The Gophers then finished out with a win over Northwestern in the B1G Tournament but lost to Ohio State in the second round and posted a final record of 14-15.