- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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The school will introduce Pitino at a news conference Friday.
"Richard Pitino has been selected as the finalist for the position of University of Minnesota men's head basketball coach," the school said in a statement. "Pitino and the university have reached an understanding in principle on the key terms of an agreement."
The two sides met Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla., according to a source.
A source said Arizona State assistant coach Eric Musselman was supposed to interview for the job, but was told Tuesday not to fly to Fort Myers because the Gophers had their coach.
The son of NCAA coaching legend Rick Pitino, Richard Pitino was with his father's team, the Louisville Cardinals, Sunday in Indianapolis and then went to see Kevin Ware with his father Monday in an Indianapolis hospital. Richard Pitino was a former Louisville assistant who also has served as an assistant at Florida and Providence.
Pitino replaced Isiah Thomas at FIU and coached the Golden Panthers to a surprising 11-9 record in the Sun Belt, 18-14 overall. They shocked league favorite Middle Tennessee State in the conference tournament semifinals before losing the automatic NCAA berth to Western Kentucky.
Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague fired Tubby Smith last week after Smith led the Gophers to a round of 64 win over UCLA and a round of 32 loss to Florida. Smith was hired this week by Texas Tech.
Teague, the former VCU AD, has long looked for up-and-coming hires and tabbed Anthony Grant (Alabama) and Shaka Smart (VCU) as head coaches with the Rams. Minnesota looked at Smart and made a play for Gophers alumnus, former NBA coach and now ESPN NBA analyst Flip Saunders as well as Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, but all decided against going to Minnesota.
Minnesota is close to finalizing a deal with Florida International coach Richard Pitino, multiple sources told ESPN.com.