Pitino latest coach to hire his son as assistant

Updated: April 6, 2007, 8:41 PM ET
Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Rick Pitino didn't look far to find his newest assistant.

The Louisville basketball coach hired his 24-year-old son, Richard Pitino, a former assistant at Duquesne, on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to being hard on him," Pitino said. "He's really paid his dues and has become a terrific student of the game and a relentless recruiter."

Pitino said another assistant, Kevin Willard, left to take the head coaching job at Iona College in New York. Iona wouldn't confirm the hiring to replace Jeff Ruland, but said a news conference is scheduled for early next week.

"Any time you lose someone who's been with you for 10 years and is like a son, you've got to make sure you continue with the quality that you have in your program," Pitino said. Willard coached alongside Pitino at Louisville and for four seasons when Pitino was head coach of the Boston Celtics.

Pitino noted other father-son coaching tandems have found success, including Bob and Pat Knight at Texas Tech, and Eddie and Sean Sutton at Oklahoma State.

Pitino said assistant Steve Masiello and not his son would replace Willard.

Before coaching at Duquesne, Richard Pitino coached for a season at Northeastern and was an administrative assistant at College of Charleston in 2004-05.

Pitino also hired Eric Scott, a former assistant at Bellarmine, as director of basketball operations.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press