Minnesota announced on Tuesday morning that they had signed head coach Rick Pitino to a contract extension.
“I am extremely grateful for this opportunity given to me by President Kaler, Beth Goetz and the University of Minnesota,” said Pitino. “Being the basketball coach at this tremendous university is something I cherish every day. My family and I love living in the Twin Cities and we look forward to continuing to build this basketball program the right way.”
The contract runs through the 2020-21 season with Pitino earning $1.6 million annually. A hot name on the coaching carousel every spring, Pitino also has bonuses of $450,000 for remaining at Minnesota through April of 2016 and April of 2019.
Pitino also commented on the scandal involving former athletic director Norwood Teague, who resigned amidst allegations that he sexually harassed colleagues and at least one sports reporter.
“It’s very difficult because Norwood hired me,” Pitino told ESPN 1500 in an interview on Tuesday, which was transcribed by the Pioneer Press. “I can’t ignore the fact that he gave me an unbelievable opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He believed in me when I hadn’t done a lot. I was only a head coach for one year. So that’s something I will never forget. That’s something I will always be gracious of and appreciative of that opportunity because I get to coach in the Big Ten. A lot of that had to do with him.”
“But with that being said, it’s such a difficult situation. You read all those things, and hopefully he’s getting help if he does have issues. For everybody that is involved, it’s just very, very difficult.”