Column: Pitino should listen to all job offers, ya feel me?

Samuel Gordon

There’s a couple of high-profile men’s basketball coaching jobs still available.

Missouri and Tennessee — both members of the SEC — are looking for the next face of their respective programs.

And Richard Pitino’s name keeps getting kicked around as a possible replacement. That’s a reality Gophers fans are going to have to live with as long as he’s on campus.

Pitino was exceptional in his first year at the helm, and as the son of a coaching legend, he has the pedigree that big-time programs look for in a bench boss.

If Minnesota’s program continues to ascend, like many expect, the rumors will continue to swirl.

University of Minnesota athletics director Norwood Teague stomped out rumors last week that Pitino was considering other options.

Pitino, however, should at least entertain other offers because a lot of the openings are a step up from his current position — which is by no means a destination job.

He’s earning $1.2 million per year under his current contract with Minnesota, the lowest salary in the Big Ten.

Then there’s the dreadful weather in the Twin Cities, which can significantly stymie recruiting efforts. Pitino arrived too late to snag any one of the “Big Three” recruits from Minnesota, and the overall talent pool in the state isn’t anything to write home about.

On top of all that, the facilities here stink. There are new ones planned, but they’re probably another five years out at least. Yes, fans love the Barn and its history, but it’s nearly 80 years old and isn’t exactly top-notch. Tennessee and Mizzou both have significantly nicer facilities than Minnesota.

And while SEC basketball may not have the prestige of the Big Ten, it did just send a pair of teams to the Final Four.

Tennessee and Mizzou aren’t exactly elite jobs, but there are still some perks to coaching in the SEC. It’s less competitive from top to bottom, meaning a good coach could make a mark on the conference rather quickly.

Now, I’m not saying Pitino should bolt for greener pastures, but listening to other job offers would force Teague’s hand and maybe encourage him to open up the wallet a little bit more.

The University just gave Jerry Kill a pay raise, suggesting there are available funds for Pitino as well.

If Pitino sticks around, Minnesota could become a more desirable job.

Teague and his subordinates need to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.

Ya feel me?