Norwood Teague says coaching search 'unfolded just like we wanted it'
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Norwood Teague fired back at critics of the University of Minnesota's basketball coaching search on Friday, saying Richard Pitino "is the perfect fit for the University of Minnesota" and the coaching search "unfolded just like we wanted it."
The Gophers' athletic director introduced Pitino at a press conference-turned-pep rally at Williams Arena, two days after agreeing to the parameters of a contract.
Teague wouldn't directly discuss any reports he offered the job to, and was turned down by, VCU coach Shaka Smart, Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg and former NBA coach Flip Saunders.
But he did take several shots at media coverage of the search, which began with Tubby Smith's firing on March 25, one day after the Gophers' season ended with an NCAA Tournament loss to Florida.
"It's a search. It takes time," Teague said. "... I made a lot of offers I didn't know I made to candidates I didn't meet with."
Pitino, 30, got a six-year contract worth $1.2 million annually, according to a handout distributed to the media by "U" officials. He has a base salary of $500,000 and supplemental compensation of $700,000.
On Friday, Pitino spoke glowingly of Teague, the program and the university. He also avoided defaulting to one of Smith's favorite complaints -- the lack of a practice facility on campus.
"When I look around this place," Pitino said, "we have plenty to win and win at a high level."
He also said he'd like to set up a home-and-home series with his father, legendary coach Rick Pitino, who will coach Louisville in a second consecutive Final Four beginning on Saturday in Atlanta.
The younger Pitino even said he's excited to compete with his father for recruits.
"It's game on, the way I look at it," Pitino said, smiling. "Hopefully, he fights fair."