It wasn’t the best of times at the end of last season and then during the early part of the off-season for several Big Ten programs. The reasons were a little different, but Minnesota and a couple of others not only finished near the bottom of the conference, but were not exactly trending in the right direction. Naturally, coaches like Richard Pitino tried to keep a positive outlook. With the season here and about ten games old for many teams, however, there’s a lot of reason for that in Pitino’s case.
Last season, the Golden Gophers were 8-23 overall and 2-16 in the Big Ten. The athletic director who hired Pitino, Norwood Teague, was long gone, and that never helps a coach even though he has a name with some cachet in college basketball. Then it got worse, from the sex tape fiasco involving Kevin Dorsey (who has since transferred) to Reggie Lynch getting arrested, though he was subsequently reinstated. Also, an audit showed that Pitino spent more than double his allowance for private jet travel since he was hired. While the private jet usage was approved by Teague, the news of it wasn’t something the program needed.