Yesterday, incoming UNM men’s basketball head coach Richard Pitino joined the Chamber to share his excitement at joining the Lobos community – and his optimism for a new chapter of success for the team.
In introducing the new coach, UNM Athletics Director Eddie Nuñez had a lot to say about Pitino’s character and integrity as well as his experience at a Power Five institution, the University of Minnesota. Integrity was a persistent theme of much of both leaders’ commentary as they discussed recruiting and building teams of staff members and players alike.
Pitino expressed confidence in the team’s roster but also said he feels it’s critical to recruit from Texas, Arizona, and Southern California. He also said he would be looking as closely at players’ goals – their interest in working out, making progress on their degree, and improving in their skills – as at their ability on the court.
Once it’s safe to really drill down with the team, Pitino says his first goal will be to establish a culture for the program. “Everything we do will be geared toward winning,” he said. “I want discipline on and off the basketball court.”
Both Pitino and Nuñez agreed that the Lobos’ fans and broader community are the team’s greatest asset and an important focus for UNM Athletics leadership. “It’s about building trust, it’s about them understanding that we care about this community,” Nuñez said. “We take a lot of pride in it,” he added.
To watch the full event with Eddie Nuñez and Richard Pitino, click here.