NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Richard Pitino is settling into his new job as head men’s basketball coach at the University of New Mexico. Pitino is looking for staff and getting to know the players he has inherited. “Our current players have been great,” said Pitino. “We’ve done two workouts, Monday and Tuesday and attitudes are great. It’s a collection of really good kids that are eager to get on the court, eager to get in the weight room. You know, I am just trying to put my stamp on it and that takes time.”
Time is exactly what Pitino will take as he assembles his coaching staff with assistants from his former job at Minnesota as well as those he inherited at UNM appear to be in the mix. It all depends on the fit and what is best for the Lobos program. Pitino said he is not in a hurry because of it. He wants to get it right.
Meanwhile, the first week on the job has been a busy one as Pitino has juggled work with trying to find a place for him and his family to live. Pitino has also run into a Lobo fan or two, excited that he is at New Mexico. “It’s been great. I was sitting here in my office when some guy walked up and gave me a big bottle of bourbon. I don’t drink bourbon. There’s a lot of similarities to my childhood growing up at the University of Kentucky. It is that type of a fan base,” said Pitino. “The first night I was here I was going to walk into the bathroom a guy said we want you here for 20 years. I said I haven’t even been here for two days. Obviously, it’s the honeymoon phase. I haven’t lost a game yet.”
In other sports news, Lobos running back Chad Alexander is hoping his redshirt sophomore year will be one of not only returning kick-offs but getting some reps as a running back. “I just got to stay consistent, keep working, stay focused and just keep balling,” said Alexander. “I’ve been working on my footwork. How to stay on my feet and my cuts and my jukes.”
Lobo spring football resumed this past Monday after a week away for spring break.
Lastly, the Atrisco Heritage Jaguars football team has a new coach and a new culture. “They still are fighting it a little bit, but they saw the dividends last week and I think they were, I think they were kind of shocked with themselves too,” said AHA Head Football Coach Howard Knezevich.
The Jaguars are hoping to end the COVID-19 shortened season at 3-0.