A DAY IN THE “OFF” SEASON by Richard Pitino

I am often asked around this time of year what does a division 1 basketball coach do in the offseason? What you see on tv is only a small part of our lives. Everyday is certainly different but below I’ll give you a breakdown of my day, by the minute recently in late June. Hope you enjoy!

6:00 am – My 6 year old Ava wakes me up crying because she didn’t think the tooth fairy came. Little did she know the 5 dollar bill fell off the bed. Crisis averted.

6:15 am– Get my 10 month old Zoe and 3 year old Jack out of bed quietly to let my wife Jill sleep. Feed my dog Bernie. 2 scoops. Fire up the Keurig for first cup of coffee in my favorite Ryder Cup mug.

6:18 am– Get yelled at by Jack for not giving him his orange juice quick enough. Cliff Bar for me for breakfast. Ava gets up and makes similar request for orange juice. A fight breaks out between Jack and Ava over the color of their cups.

7:15 am– Say goodbye to Jill, daughters Ava and Zoe. Put Jack in his car seat and head to pre school. Music- Moana soundtrack.

7:20 am– Phone call from my father (butt dial). Unproductive game of phone tag ensues. Drop Jack off. Takes a little longer because he makes me give him a pound, high five, hug and a kiss before I can leave.

7:30 am– Off to Starbucks for a grande blonde roast coffee with cream and two Splenda.

7:38 am– Headed to work. Slight delay because my favorite Twin Cities barista, Heidi reminded me of how good of a school her alma mater Iowa was. I pushed back of course. Much more enjoyable these days out in public when you have a good season! Going with Tom Petty pandora station this am. Feels right.

8:05 am– Sit down at my desk. Time to work. Formulate my to do list for the day.

8:15 am– Close the door. Watch our top, most effective offensive sets from last season. Want to figure out which plays to put in first for practice. Attempt to plan practice for this afternoon without getting interrupted. No checking twitter during this time. Hopefully.

9:30 am– Recruiting meeting with the staff. Prepare for upcoming recruiting visits and put together phone call list for the day. Always trying to come up with new, creative ideas to connect with recruits.

10:45 am– Head upstairs to the weight room to lift. Put on 8 pounds since the season ended. Not good! Strength and conditioning coach Shaun Brown has my workout written out. Hopefully he takes it easy on me.

11:15 am– Interrupted by creative graphics guru Jeff Keiser. Workout put on hold. Spent about 7 minutes talking about his golf game. Time well spent according to Jeff.

11:25 am– Complain to facilities about the air conditioning not working in the weight room. They tell me they will work on it. I don’t believe them! Time to resume my workout.

11:45 pm– Cardio time. Elliptical for hopefully 45 minutes. Watch Billions season 2 on the iPad. Fantastic show.

12:30 pm– Review practice plan with the staff. Attempt to get everybody on the same page.

12:45 pm– Shower, put on suit for picture on the court with seniors for upcoming recruiting book and future graphics. Forgot my dress shirt. Fortunately have another shirt that doesn’t match in my closet. Nothing photoshop cant take care of.

1:00 pm– Stop in to say hello to new football coach PJ Fleck on the way back to my office.

1:30 pm– Meet with strength coach Shaun Brown and ops guy Ryan Livingston about new ideas for potential Williams Arena lockerroom renovations. They suggested a bowling alley. I told them to leave my office immediately.

1:45 pm– Ping Pong time. I like to consider myself the Floyd Mayweather of the Gopher basketball team. Beat up on video staff Josh Adel and Billy O’ Meara very quickly. Still haven’t lost. Remain undefeated. Not sure if it’s because I’m great or they stink. Either way it’s a nice confidence boost. Back to work.

2:00 pm– Recruiting calls and texts. Snack- bag of pretzels. Big fan.

3:00 pm– Talk current events with my strength coach Shaun Brown. He doesn’t knock and wasn’t invited in but that doesn’t stop him from sitting down. Will be lucky if he lets me get any work done.

3:30 pm– First practice of the summer at Williams Arena! Sometimes go with pre practice coffee but elected not to today. Get on the court at 3:15.

4:45 pm– Head back to my office and prepare for unofficial visit.

6:00 pm– Athletes Village tour with recruit and family. Meet in my office afterwards to talk.

8:00 pm– Drive home. Hoping my phone doesn’t ring on the ride. Enjoy some alone time. May take the scenic way home around Lake Calhoun. Walk into the house to the smell of chicken cutlets. Little victories!

8:10 pm– Phone call from my athletic director, Mark Coyle. He’s in the neighborhood with his wife Krysten. He wants to see my house. Attempt to clean up all the toys before they come in. Hopeful he doesn’t want to see my messy basement. He does of course.

9:00 pm– Stop by Fleck’s house for a football fundraiser. Catch the tail end. Fight to stay awake to make recruiting calls at midnight.

12:00 am– First day to call rising juniors. Can call after midnight. Have to make sure our top priorities know how important they are to us. Small but necessary step (I think) in certain recruiting processes. Rarely the reason kids chose a school but always good to show them your working. Never had a kid tell me he’s coming to play for me because I called him at midnight but nevertheless I give into my assistants and do it! Off to bed after. Productive day. Never know what’s coming my way in the am. That’s the beauty of being a college basketball coach. Expect the unexpected!



Richard Pitino

Richard Pitino is the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Minnesota and one of the brightest young coaches in all of College Basketball. After stints as an assistant Coach at Northeastern, Duquesne, Louisville and Florida he got his first head coaching opportunity at Florida International. After just 1 year at FIU he was hired at the University of Minnesota where in 4 seasons he has led the Gophers to the NIT Championship and 1 NCAA appearance. Pitino was named the 2017 Big 10 Coach of the Year.

4 thoughts on “A DAY IN THE “OFF” SEASON by Richard Pitino

  1. Entertaining and informative, Coach!!! So grateful to have you leading us!

  2. Interesting day! I wonder how many hours of sleep a coach actually gets at night.

  3. Can’t take our spouses for granted…their crisis management skills are outstanding…we think “a cup is a cup”…thanks

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