MINNEAPOLIS – The morning had started early for Richard Pitino. For him, mornings usually do. You could say he comes by it honestly, learning from his famous – and famously workaholic – father just how early the bird has to wake up to get the worm.It was the middle of the September recruiting season for the 32-year-old, second-year head coach of the Minnesota Gophers, and Pitino’s night of sleep ended at 5:30 a.m. There were workouts to be planned, a visit to a highly touted New York recruit to be taken, a basketball program to be built, but on this morning Pitino didn’t wake up to visions of five-star recruits or to ideas for new wrinkles he should put into his up-tempo scheme.Instead, the Big Ten’s youngest head coach by eight years awoke to the face of his 3-year-old daughter, standing at his bedside.“Daddy!” Ava Pitino said, tugging at him. “Let’s go downstairs and watch cartoons!”Less than two hours later, after three episodes of “Doc McStuffins,” several cups of coffee and a reasonable 20-minute Midwestern commute, the man who has injected new life into what had been a decent though stagnant Minnesota basketball program walked into his office in the… Read full this story
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