With the departure of Steve Masiello, the hot topic of debate amongst Cardinal fans has been about the potential return to the bench of Richard Pitino, the former UofL assistant known for his recruiting prowess. Several prominent media members, both locally and nationally, speculated Richard would be the prime target to fill the void left by Masiello. However, Richard was still on Florida’s staff and it was mostly just speculation. There was no real evidence or information it would actually occur.
This afternoon Billy Donovan added John Pelphrey and former St. John’s head coach Norm Roberts to his staff at Florida. Pelphrey was just fired at Arkansas, but spent six seasons on Donovan’s staff in Gainesville and helped lay the foundation for the back to back national title teams the Gators produced. In my opinion, both are very strong hires by Donovan and the seven legitimate Florida basketball fans should be excited about them.
However, person of interest here is Richard Pitino. He has been on Donovan’s staff the past two seasons but per a press release today, has left to “accept another position.” All signs indicate it’s just a matter of time before Richard officially returns to the UofL staff. If that indeed happens, the phrase “home-run” comes to mind. He is a dynamite recruiter and would give the Cards a pretty strong 1-2 recruiting punch with ‘Prime Time’ Tim Fuller. In addition, Richard’s experience working for his father, particularly in the area of scouting, is critical.
On the subject of Fuller, there are several reports of other schools, namely Missouri and NC State, pursuing him. Naturally, with Fuller’s top notch recruiting ability, many Cardinal fans are concerned about the prospect of him leaving. Personally, I don’t see him going anywhere. Fuller was hired not only because he was a great recruiter, but because he wants to be a head coach.
During the press conference announcing his hiring, Rick Pitino stated he hired Fuller because of the fact Fuller had to learn how to be a coach, almost from scratch, therefore he would be on staff for several years. And let’s keep in mind, Pitino has always said when he hires assistants, he only hires those who desire to be head coaches in the future. If you look at Rick’s track record and coaching tree, it’s impossible to argue against that.
For those reasons, I do not have any concern about ‘Prime Time’ Tim leaving the UofL staff.
We’ll stay on this and provide all updates when available, but it looks like we could be seeing some good news for the Louisville basketball program soon.
Update – Naturally, no more than 10 minutes after I complete this post, news breaks. According to college basketball analyst/insider Jon Rothstein, sources have confirmed to him Richard Pitino is rejoining the UofL staff.