Challenges for new head coaches
August, 27, 2013
By Seth Greenberg | ESPN Insider
AP PhotoRichard Pitino, Andy Enfield and Steve Alford all face unique challenges at new programs.Transitioning to a new head-coaching job is never easy. Oftentimes, you must deal with an unknown roster with a different staff in a new location. Even if it's a simple slide from assistant to head coach, there are still adjustments that need to be made.
Richard Pitino (Minnesota), Andy Enfield (USC), Steve Alford (UCLA), Craig Neal (New Mexico) and Chris Collins (Northwestern) are all currently experiencing this process. They face unique but similar challenges to get their programs where they need to be. Let's take a look at what's in store for their first seasons in charge.
Richard Pitino, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Pitino, the former head coach at FIU and son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, does not necessarily have the same coaching philosophy as his father. I believe Florida coach Billy Donovan had just as much influence and was pivotal in Richard landing the Minnesota job.
Challenges: One of the keys for the future of Minnesota basketball is Pitino's ability to establish his culture and system. He inherits a talented backcourt in Austin and Andre Hollins, and the addition of FIU transfer Malik Smith will give the Gophers the type of competitive, athletic perimeter game needed to compete in the conference right away.
But for Minnesota and Pitino to win long term, they need the university to make a commitment to upgrading facilities, including a state-of-the-art practice building. It will complement "The Barn," one of the great, old home courts in college basketball.
The greatest challenge for Pitino will be whether he can establish himself as a head coach who can successfully recruit Minnesota. The state has three senior prospects in the top 50 of ESPN RecruitingNation's rankings in point guard Tyus Jones, wing Rashad Vaughn and physical forward Reid Travis. Getting one would be a start, while getting two would be a breakthrough. If he gets shut out, it would really hurt in terms of creating momentum.